Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 25th Oct 2011 12:50 UTC, submitted by JAlexoid
General Development The news already hit HackerNews late last night, but at that time there was no confirmation so I decided to wait until we knew for sure. Well, after Dennis Ritchie and Steve Jobs, the technology world lost another great mind yesterday. Stanford has confirmed that John McCarthy, the creator of LISP and the father of artificial intelligence, has passed away, age 84.
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RE[2]: Window
by lord_rob on Tue 25th Oct 2011 19:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Window"
lord_rob
Member since:
2005-08-06

Sure, why should we cry for Steve Jobs and not have a bit of respect for the man who invented the first functionnal programming language, and then invented the garbage collector system, a technology which is still used a lot, in Java for example.
Note that I don't want to bash Apple when saying that. I just mean that this guy needs a lot of respect for what he contributed to modern computing.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: Window
by BlueofRainbow on Wed 26th Oct 2011 04:23 in reply to "RE[2]: Window"
BlueofRainbow Member since:
2009-01-06

Fascinating, and also a bit sad, to note only 9 comments nearly 12 hours since the posting of the news. The posting about the passing of Steve Jobs was approaching the 100 comments after that much time(if I remember well).

Then again, many of us got a refresh of who was Steve Jobs and what he did through the extensive media coverage of the Apple showcases of new products.

Neither Denis Richie nor John McCarthy had this much exposure in the general public. For many, they were names of pioneers encountered whenever starting to learn C or LISP.

LISP and all those parentheses:

->(setq sunset-of-this-era (passing-of-pioneers (October 2011)))
("Steve Jobs" "Denis Richie" "John McCarthy" "Many Others")

->(setq dawn-of-next-era (time-warp-one-generation-ahead (October 2011)))
nil

We do not know yet who will be revered to the same extent one generation from now!

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Window
by zima on Tue 1st Nov 2011 23:32 in reply to "RE[3]: Window"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Ultimately, in broader terms, it's quite sad how quickly we forget the dead (while liking to think of ourselves something quite the contrary).
Without checking, quick, tell the date of birth (maybe approximate to a decade), ~country, language, number of children, social strata of your great-great-great-great-grandmother (the side of mother, grandfather, great-grandfather, g-g-grandmother, g-g-g-grandfather) - "just" the things which determined most of her.

And some deaths are much more suitable for "grief porn" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mourning_sickness ) than others, than the vast majority of them (too bad I'll most likely be long dead before people get some perspective about... the dead; if ever) which are just ignored.

Googling human deaths rate per second gives 1.8 - two people dying with every heartbeat of yours, around 10 with every breath (and apparently, a child every 4 seconds http://www.globalissues.org/article/715/today-21000-children-died-a... ); this site http://www.transhumanism.org/resources/deathrate.htm has nice counter. Apparently, largely ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_causes_of_death_by_rate#Malnut... ) from causes essentially mocked by societies with skyrocketing obesity rates (NVM general consumptionism)

Or consider the popular myth "more of us are alive than have ever lived" - simply ignoring the 100+ billion (most of serious estimates _start_ at this number) dead homo sapiens sapiens.

Yes, many would dismiss how we overlook all of the above by words boiling down to "those are lesser people" - well, very large part of what made John McCarthy came from the random accidents of his birth and early experiences beyond his control.
At least there's some chance that, by remembering his accomplishments, we could better realize the circumstances and conditions leading to such fruitful environments (which should be useful in the future) ...but I'm afraid this doesn't typically happen (especially if we remember mostly on such occasions, not ~always)

Reply Parent Score: 2