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The Digital Waltz

Posted in fun, information science, open access, robotics/AI

When a programmer begins to write his code, he is not merely writing abstract messages to be translated into simple ones and zeros but creating a carefully detailed dance pattern between him and his machine. At the moment of powering up his computer and watching it boot up with controlled anticipation, he is watching decades of digital choreography come to play in front of his eyes. This dazzling spectacle is the threshold of where his creative energies take place. This is where his mind goes to work in creating precise and detailed instructions for his machine to put into action. This may be true but to the true programmer, one who puts his heart and soul into his keyboard and pushes his combined passion and creativity to the next level, is the one who truly masters the art and becomes legendary. To these people, they are not merely writing code but are creating art that comes alive at the push of a button. This is one aspect of programming that a computer jockey wishes to do: create art.

The arena that a programmer wishes to dance in is always at his discretion. Be it Eclipse, Visual Basic, or even a simple word processor, they all have their merits. This is where the artist creates. This is where the programmer takes their initial keystrokes and gingerly pecks at them with blazing speed and mechanical accuracy. To those around him, the programmer appears to be rushing to complete task but this is not the case. To those who program and write code, time seems to stand still as they carefully work on their masterpiece. They put all other issues aside and commit their time and energy into designing their next creation, their new child. They take pleasure in their work and commit much of their lives to perfecting this art and designing innovative creations. To them, this in itself is a dance within the massive operating system and their dance partner is the code itself. Around the duo is a multitude of processes, other couples composed of daemons that maintain a proper status quo and the many parent/child processes around. This may not be a dance for them, but a dance made possible by love and circuitry. This dance is beautiful, but one careless misstep will cause the fellow dancer to become dissatisfied and will refuse to dance. Even though the code may be your child, your child is a picky creature that is only satisfied by the successive combination of accuracy and precision.

After the dance is complete and with all syntax as elegant as a well-played ballad, the debugger shall take hold of the remaining tasks. She is a lovely creature that plays as the nurse for your newly born child. She makes sure that your child is flawless and only speaks when she has found your child to be defective. If this occurs, the dance resumes and the creator begins again. As one ages with time, one should strive to become perfect or to work hard enough to write perfect code. After the debugger has nursed your child into being, with one keystroke she comes alive and begins to speak with you. She will be as intelligent as you make her and as resourceful as you are, only to make as many mistakes as you made in your dance. She is a loyal child, one that completes every task that you ask of her. Your child’s only request is that you keep her safe and to give her the resources she needs. When this criterion isn’t met, she will become unhappy and will refuse to help you. Rather than showing rage and frustration, the artist must be patient and be giving to the child.

With the creation of a new child, a responsible artist will show her to the world and allow others to share similar experiences that the programmer has had. Others will shelter the child, making sure that their child will not be taken from them. The programmer must be smart, and must take protective measures to make sure this doesn’t happen. Some will ask outsiders for help, others will make sure that fellow digital craftsman will acknowledge that their child is theirs and only theirs. As with any parent, they will respect the programmer as they share the same vision and passion for the art as they do. As the programmer shows their child to the world, their child is able to help others and those in need. The programmer’s child will become another part of the user’s life as the child assists them with their needs. The programmer will take pride in their child for all the good their child has done. Eventually, other programmers will want to take the child and will execute a more intimate dance with her. This is most often out of your hands, so all you can do is hope that she is used for benevolent purposes only. This intimate dance will alter your child and create an offspring, a variant of your original design. This will continue ad infinitum until your child has aged to where she is no longer useful. With teary eyes and a heavy heart, the programmer will see his creation fade away from existence.

As many will undergo the intimate dance with your child, others will attempt to rape and defile your child with malicious code and devious intentions. Fueled by greed and an appetite for destruction, these infiltrators will use and abuse the child by exploiting her weaknesses and will corrupt her into a monstrosity capable of numerous problems for the programmer and others. These infiltrators are cunning, capable of taking the child and making her into a monster with the use of a single code. As with all artists and creators, one would hope that these nefarious individuals would be apprehended by the authorities but this is not always the case. Many of these fiends go unnoticed by hiding in plain sight, only conversing with others like them. This is not even the worst. The worst case scenario is that the child, a year’s worth of work in one result, can be defiled and used for creating a horrid abomination with the capacity of more harm than the child could ever accomplish. One could only hope that this never happens but often does more times than one could ever want. This is one negative consequence of creation; what one creates, another can destroy.

As true as in real life, there are more people willing to destroy than there are willing to create. Thankfully, creators and fellow programmers are not without protection. There are other programmers who create for the sake of creating other creators. These protectors create their own children with the intent of protecting them from those who want to corrupt them. These children are not made the same as other children, possessing code that is able to scan other children and safeguard them from harm. As with any program, they range from extremely potent to completely useless but they are all made with the best intentions. Often their designers are fellow artists that have the same concerns that any other programmer does but possess the knowledge to write code that is specifically designed to protect other programs from harm. All programmers lend their gratitude to the vanguards that keep them and their child safe from malicious individuals and criminals.

Like the continuous battle between infiltrators and protectors, other programmers tend to have their own battles. Their intentions are primarily material, fighting over the attention of users and other programmers. They will often steal from each other, use misconduct, and lie to consumers to meet their goals. These programmers are not fueled by the passion to create, but the passion to create profit. As such, their children are not filled with the love and passion that other children are filled with, but are utilitarians that do only what they are asked to do. These husks are often targeted by those who seek to defile them because they are not made with the careful craftsmanship of a passionate artist, but by the hands of greedy businessmen who are as careless as they are desperate for profit. This joke is as eternal as life itself and tends to be just as cruel.

As with any great artist, one does not stop with the creation of their child but will seek to improve her with time and carefully designed upgrades. These revisions serve the purpose of immortalizing the child and improving her like time and biology ages their fleshy counterparts. Unlike flesh children, a digital child can live forever with a continuing cycle of revision and constant upgrades. With a close eye to the voice of the users, a creator can design a child that can live forever by meeting the demands that a user asks for. These revisions can take the crude design of simple child and transfigure her into an elegant and omnipotent being that can tackle any challenge within their world. While these revisions take place, a programmer won’t stop with one creation but will create more and more programs. The constant drive to create, improve, and create again is what fuels the silicon and copper heart of a passionate programmer. This cycle will go on until the very programmer dies. The programmer will not have died without making an impact on the world and will have died doing what the programmer does best: create. With their work, the programmer is immortalized like their revised children.

At the end of the day, the programmer will power down their workstation and will rest for the next day to come. This will not be their final day of creation, for there are many other creations to come about and will beg to be created. Once again, the elegant digital waltz will begin again in the dance floor where all dances are conducted. The dance always has the same mechanical accuracy and precision as the first time it was enacted, the feverish pecking upon a keyboard to produce electrical impulses that result in ones and zeros. The important difference is that a new child is under construction, with a new set of objectives and tasks to complete. Of course, this is for another day and another time. The artist will click the shutdown icon, another beautifully crafted piece of code, and watch as the computer turns itself off. The daemons, parent, and child processes will rest until it is time for them to dance once again.

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