65 years of debugging

I’ve recently been plowing through a lot of old Asimov books I had lying around. One that stands out in particular is anthology of his robot stories. Imaging what 2005 will be like is so much easier with hindsight!

But one group of stories is particularly enthralling to me: Powell & Donovan. Why? Because they’re debuggers. They get faced with a weird situation, have to figure out not only what’s gone wrong, but why so that they can fix it. They know about the three laws, and are exploring their unexpected implications and interactions in the real world. This feels exactly like what I do with computers.

Thankfully, the robots they deal with don’t come with a reset switch, which appears to be the limit of many people’s debugging these days. That would have made for a very short story indeed.

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