Recur-ception

I had this nagging doubt in my mind for quite some time now. My thoughts took concrete form when I happened to stumble upon this Quora question sometimes back! The question is pretty old, in fact (latest activity : 12th December, 2012). But thanks to some recent changes, my Quora feed is infused with archaic content like this one.

This particular question discusses the reasons for the inter-changeable use of the words “Recursion” and “Inception”. This is a typical illustration of the influence of pop-culture. You don’t really need to go down to “Wrecking Ball” to notice this impact, it gets involved with every sphere of our existence in even more subtle ways!
If you ask me, the non-programmer folks might not be that well-versed with using “recursion” in their everyday speech. As a natural consequence, they tend to drift towards using “inception” to refer to anything that is remotely self-referential!

Things started to roll when the “XYZ-ception” and “We must go deeper” memes began to surface. Someone comes up to me and says “We were supposed to have an extra class today because one of regular lectures got cancelled. But, today’s (extra-) class got cancelled as well.”. Somehow, “extra-classeption” was the only witty reply that came to my mind!

I might be getting carried away (by sarcasm!), but imagine if the current trend continues. We might leave behind a generation of programmers and who actually believe that recursion and inception mean the same! We might hear high-school kids say things like “Dude look at this code, a function within a function, that’s function-ception!” Umm, no sir! There’s a separate term for it!

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