This has been a very sad October for the tech world. After Steve Jobs passed away earlier this month, we lost two more tech giants in the following weeks.
Dennis Ritchie, known best as the creator of C and a key person in the development of Unix, died this month. With all the credit given to companies like Apple and Google for their innovation, it is important to say that without people like Ritchie, none of what we use right now would be around.
And if that wasn’t enough of a hit to the tech world, John McCarthy – the inventor of LISP and a pioneer in artificial intelligence – also died this October. Both Ritchie and McCarthy were Turing Award winners and I would say influenced the world of computing at least as much as Steve Jobs did, if in a different way and not so much in the spotlight.
If you take the most recent iPhone, this influence is easy to trace. The operating system is a “unix-like” OS. The programming language for building apps is based on C. The new Siri “talk-to-your-phone” functionality is just a modern example of the progress in artificial intelligence. So while we pay our respects to Jobs for his dedication to usability and aesthetics, we mustn’t forget the people working behind the scenes to make these technologies possible. All of these are essential to the progress of the tech world and they are all deserving of our respect, love and gratitude.