The Best Minds of My Generation Are Writing Code

Allen Ginsberg’s famous poem Howl begins:

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
Angel-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection
to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,

The best minds of my generation have been consumed by the IT industry. The best minds of my generation are busy making profound changes to the world. Here is a chilling thought. For several decades now, the best minds have been working feverishly to advance the computer industry. There has probably been no other human enterprise in the history of mankind which has consumed so much intellect and creativity. And the results have been astounding! The computer industry has transformed our world with some of the most significant advances in the history of mankind. Virtually all of humanity is connected online now. It is becoming increasingly easy to search through the vast store of human knowledge to make connections and collective efforts can be made to solve the toughest problems. Entire industries have been made obsolete by web applications. And frightening possibilities for mass surveillance have appeared.

The IT industry has an insatiable demand for talent. A lot of bright people have been sucked into this vast enterprise. I have to wonder if this isn’t a waste. What might some of these bright young people be doing if they were not writing code? Few professions pay better than computer programming. Maybe some of best minds of my generation would be writing poetry or plays. I always say, “Write code, not poetry. It pays better.”

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