Complexity won’t make you a hero

clock machineryIn an delicious article about the unsung heroes of technology—those engineers that nobody knows—Pascal Zachary makes this interesting reflection (emphasis mine):

Engineering may very well be bereft of heroes because nobody really understands the work of engineers anymore. When Edison invented the phonograph, for instance, everybody could relate to that. But when Intel engineers design a microprocessor with 2 billion transistors rather than, say, 1.5 billion, a layperson has no real clue what that means or why it’s important. To be sure, increasing abstraction and complexity also dogs modern physics, chemistry, and many other fields, with the unsurprising result that there are no physicist heroes, chemist heroes, and so on. Pursuits like sports, movies, and music, meanwhile, are intuitively comprehensible, so it’s no wonder that those fields are chock-full of heroes.

Very much in line with one of my greatest obsessions: the complexity of the world we have created and the superficiality of our understanding or the lack of it thereof.

In this information overloaded world, nobody has the patience any more to go through a maze of complex arguments. Nobody will pay you attention if you haven’t been able to internalize yourself the benefits of your deeper understanding of your choice matter (in other words: got rich.)

No, complexity won’t make you a hero!

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