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Hundred-Year Language

Paul Graham’s essay The Hundred-Year Language is a good read for those of us who know too many computer languages.

I can’t decide which quote to tease you with. Is it this one?

It may seem presumptuous to think anyone can predict what any technology will look like in a hundred years. But remember that we already have almost fifty years of history behind us. Looking forward a hundred years is a graspable idea when we consider how slowly languages have evolved in the past fifty.

or this one?

I can already tell you what's going to happen to all those extra cycles that faster hardware is going to give us in the next hundred years. They're nearly all going to be wasted.

The late, great, extremely rude gaming-review site Old Man Murray had a classic article where they rated computer games based on the amount of time required to find a crate. I thought about that as I was reading this essay, waiting for the first mention of Lisp. It finally arrived, but only after a lot of teasing and oblique references. It’s like listening to Haydn. (I worked Haydn and Old Man Murray into the same paragraph. I win a dollar!)