Algorithmic inelegance

January 07, 2008

Life is a collection of kludges taped together by chance and filtered by selection for functionality; it all works magnificently well, but if you look under the hood you are simultaneously appalled by the sheer inelegance of the molecular gemisch and impressed with the accumulation of complexity.

[...]

If a fly were software, it's software that has been patched and patched, and patches have been put on patches, until almost all vestiges of the original code have been obscured in the tweaks. It's the antithesis of planning and design—it's ad hoc co-option and opportunistic incorporation of chance enhancements. It's evolution.

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