If you don't know who John McCarthy is, you should.
Go Find Out and Be Amazed
Tom's post this week on Without a Net reminded me More than just a little about how much we all owe to "Uncle John" who passed away on Oct 24, 2011. Tom's a programmer. He loves and recognized the (LISP (Well me too (but never so much) as he)).
Whether you know it or not, there wouldn't have been The Bill Gates and a Microsoft, an Autodesk, and even most of the different versions of Apple and/or a Steve Jobs without him.
You might never have had to try and understand The Clouds we live in (whatever THAT is) without him too.
Practical things we can do with a linear accelerator? CERN and smashing little things to bits in search of the Higgs may be Way Cool. But me I'm a REAL space guy. Think BIG like Space Fountains - Yet another John idea.
About the time I learned to crawl he birthed AI. No HAL. No First Law of Robotics. No BladeRunner, No Shockwave Rider. People paid attention to his Artificial Intelligence for good REASON.
Tom probably told me who invented LISP one day soon after we first met I bet. I was probably sure it was Nicolas Wirth and dead wrong.
I distinctly remember trying to go "on line" and discover a little More about who this John McCarthy person was.
I stumbled on the words he thought of as the IMPORTANT thing at that moment -
Silly me. I am still trying to catch up.
It will be a long while before