Experience and imagination

Posted on Aug 27, 2022

There is this quote by Rob Pike of Bell Labs (of Plan 9 fame) that “Narrowness of experience leads to narrowness of imagination”, which epitomises systems thinking. Pike complains about the loss of diversity of thought in system design (everything is more or less Unix), claiming that a new generation will come that would have very narrow experiences when it comes to computing ideas. He probably accepted this inevitable moved on to help design GO.

As a side note (re: Plan 9), I remember zapping through Greek TV channels as a kid, and there was some kind of news show that more or less addressed the topic of whether or not computers are satanic (!?). Show was full of priests, but someone mentioned “Inferno”, the operating system, as an example of the future of computing. Inferno never caught on beyond being a purely a research endeavour.