Thoughts inspired by "A Child's Plaything"

Read A Child’s Plaything by Toby Ord. Such a brilliant short story that says so much about modern life with so little.

And they would understand that the people of our time are so wealthy, so powerful, that every one of them has access to machines with thousands of parts working in concert, and that it is less effort to build such a wondrous machine than to simply paint a doll’s eyebrows in their right places.

I immediately think of software (because that’s always where my mind goes), where amazing capabilities have become rapidly commoditized, but where high levels of quality and craft remain scarce. With templates and boilerplate and starter packs and generative AI we can more easily spin-up complicated working systems than ever before—including tools with an astonishing simulacrum of intelligence—but to build something of beauty still requires ingredients that remain in short supply: time, attention, and care.