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Promise of efficiency hung up on complexity of the mechanism


The problem with computers as writing machines is that the duration of any given function is unknowable.

Writing and memory

One skill acquired, another diminished...

Here in this device working at millions of operations per second, functions are so complex that there's no way to know how reliably they will complete. They will most likely complete — but not within a specific timeframe. This can have an effect upon the work in progress.

And the hang-time for a simple action can be seconds long, even without exceptional circumstances. Normally, the effect is less-pronounced — but the effect is ever-present. One must expect the unexpected interruption. One must plan on the unreliability of timeframes at the small scale.

A fraction of a second is enough to inhibit a flash of creative productivity — if you're thinking while acting, the momentary glitch of inoperability puts its blip on the process of the moment.

The possibility of efficiency in the production of the intended work — especially in some species of creativity — is compromised by the unpredictability of computation. When you cannot expect a function to operate within a specific period of time, you cannot plan your near-term actions with any real alacrity.

My old typrewriter, performing at its three operations-per-second (in a good moment,) almost always did its work as I intended it in the time space that I expected.


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