Carefully engineered system or products have a beauty all their own. You can see it in the specifications, prototypes, and especially in the finished product.
I’m not just talking about the physical design. It’s easy to look at a Fende Stratocaster or a furniture design by Ray or Charles Eames and know that it was labored over. Such things are deliberately attractive, and as such, they’re easy to appreciate.
What I’m referring to goes deeper than that. It’s the beauty of a passenger jet, the flow of traffic at rush hour, the solidity of a bridge, the charm of a well-made hat, or the magic of an online purchase; the desirability of clever insights, intelligent choices, profound decisions, and (yes) aesthetics. In sum, it’s the allure of human craft, curiosity, and the desire to push at the impossible; the very distillation of human progress.
Because of this beautiful something, we have better ways to move, build, heal, and … destroy. In the end, it may even be the end of us all, our own Beautiful Apocalypse.
Or, at least that’s what I found myself thinking after watching the following TED video about the STUXNET computer worm. Even with near impossible challenges, some intelligent group of engineers found a way to elegantly wreak havoc.