The Third Reich
First published at LinkedIn 7th of March 2023
It is in our nature. We were created in the image of God ! But let me reassure you that this is not a religious article, it is neither a political or philosophical article although intensively and mysteriously the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) is definitely related to all these. But first let me confess to you how I decided to write this article. It is because of the Reich name and it will become clear what I mean as you read through the following passages.
The Reich and the Rich
So it seems a few whether they realize it or not want to play the role of a small god on earth. After all that is what exactly Reich means and make no mistake because the very Rich, I am not necessarily referring to wealthy people here, all those gifted, talented individuals, have the ability to make little changes to the world around them. It is really fascinating because we have been given all the power to make a difference inwards and outwards. Therefore Reich is all about power for those that want to reign in a kingdom.
The Reich and Western Civilization
In the history of human civilization we have seen many kingdoms and empires. But two of them, the Roman Empire (27BC - 476 AD) and the Byzantine Empire (330 AD - 1453 AD), which was the continuation of the first, had a profound effect in the establishment of modern western civilization. These glorious empires will never-to-be-forgotten although recent generations have forgotten a world war that started from a nation that wanted to revive as the third reich. The rest is history but the dream for the third reich is alive and vivid in many powerful nations, societies, organizations and families that have adopted as their crest a variation of the double headed eagle also known as coat of arms.
Masters of the World
Well, this was a quick lesson on history and in my opinion it was necessary to deliver it so that you start realizing where we are heading to. Our world around us is rapidly changing in the blink of the eye because our eyes are accustomed to watch a screen, mobile screen, laptop/PC screen, TV screen, cinema screen, etc. For many people their whole world has become a screen. Even the notion of the real world is blared with all our technological advances and the fourth industrial revolution that is taking place around us. It is a revolution because of the industrial automation in manufacturing, quality control and handling processes. It is a revolution because of the deep systems integration experienced in communication, in services and in the storage, retrieval and delivery of contextual information. Finally it is a revolution because of the growing interdependence of the world’s economies, societies and cultures that want to evolve and/or solve a global crisis. Our IT infrastructure made our planet a small village and masters of this world proclaim unity with their own education, health and food production system.
Third Reich and Web 3
That is exactly why so many people, natives of that village, expect that the tremendous power of the third reich is going to be the ability to control everyone and everything. We got a little taste of this force when the whole world was suddenly frozen because of the COVID19 virus. In a sense the modern weaponry of the third reich is the internet and the web. In fact there is a parallelism and synergy here of the expected third reich with the advent of the third generation of the World Wide Web or Web 3. The idea behind the Web 3.0 is the same, enormous power and control. Take these three main features of Web 3:
Decentralization: the delegation of power from a central authority to regional and local authorities
Artificial intelligence and machine learning: the use of technology to support and amplify human intelligence. In a broader sense it is the potential to empower any agent to maximize future options.
Connectivity and ubiquity: the internet of things, a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers allowing the physical world to be digitally monitored and controlled
I hear you saying: “hey man, what you are trying to grasp with your little mind surpasses even your wildest dreams”, which is partially true but it is always good to know where you are standing and it is even better to discern paths and alternatives. Hence I had already thought a funny way to continue the Reich naming by digging observations and sharing with you a few hopefully interesting thoughts from my profession.
Third Reich in Software Engineering
I am a passionate software engineer and naturally from time to time I have the urge to explore new technologies in the IT industry. This is inevitable because of my job and because I am still active in the field. Since I am in my fifties, I have made a long journey through computer systems and programming and that experience makes me appreciate when I see a technology that is really good especially when it has the potential and philosophy to stay on the scene for a long time.
Functional Programming Languages
Such a technology is a programming language and Clojure “fits the bill” in this article. Clojure first appeared in 2007; 16 years ago. Rich Hickey developed Clojure because he wanted a modern Lisp for functional programming. Arguably this programming paradigm, homoiconicity i.e. code and data duality and REPL that enables the programmer to interact with a running program are those features that make it so enjoyable and powerful in coding. On the same track Stephen Wolfram designed Wolfram language to enable symbolic computation 35 years ago and Lisp is the second-oldest high-level programming language (John McCarthy, 63 years ago).
Functional Reactive Programming
If I had to keep only one feature of the language I would keep it’s dynamic development. Apparently mastery of continuous flow of data between the machine and the user, between the front-end and the back-end, between an API service and the user interface opens the gates for immense flexibility and reduced complexity. This kind of dynamic behavior in computations led Rich Harris author of Svelte to rebrand forward referencing as reactivity in a similar fashion as Rich Hickey “rebranded” Lisp. Behind reactivity it is the same core idea that made Lotus 1-2-3 in 1983, 40 years ago, the first and most successful, killer application of IBM PC. In the words of Heinrich Apfelmus, “the essence of functional reactive programming is to specify the dynamic behavior of a value” and Rich Harris added
in other words reactive programming is all about data flow, when a value changes your application should react - Rich Harris ‘Rethinking Reactivity’
Therefore we can make an analogy with the Rich(ies) especially if we include in the big picture the first
Reich in software engineering and source of all inspiration which is the “mother of all demos” a name given retrospectively to Douglas Engelbart’s, December 9, 1968, demonstration of computer technologies. The evolution of functional programming languages was the second
Reich and recently we entered the third
Reich era with compilers that target web browsers and the front-end, clojurescript is another example. Speaking about the last, the elegant handling of HTML DOM elements and the declarative approach in the management of application state with datalog, i.e. the database component, makes the equation complete and ready for an advanced optimal solution that should take in consideration all aspects and different perspectives of the same problem (information representation).
Based on our discussion here what I naturally expect to see as the next step in functional reactive programming is the merging of those two technologies i.e. a homoiconic programming language that will handle in a declarative and elegant way all the annoying details of reactive coding especially the management of the state, the design of the page with every kind of callback event and the unification of data sources fetched from APIs.
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do - Steve Jobs, Apple adv. aired 1997