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(The Atlantic)   Apparently we're going to be experiencing a software apocalypse soon, so we have that to look forward to   ( theatlantic.com) divider line
    More: PSA, code, Software engineering, software, Computer programming, Programming language, Computer program, Computer, Programmer  
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3655 clicks; posted to Geek » on 30 Sep 2017 at 2:24 AM (11 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2017-09-30 03:30:43 PM  

MythDragon: An intelligent software entity that would know when following a given command would result in an unwanted out come.


In which case the AI would "want" outcomes.  What if YOU "want" a NEW outcome, and the AI doesn't, because it doesn't like the projected results?
 
2017-09-30 03:32:31 PM  

Far Cough: I guess the ultimate idea is to express the business or other requirements in human language and let the MCP sort it all out


I had a COBOL professor in 1980 tell my class that programmers would be made obsolete, probably by 2000.  And almost certainly by 2020.

Funny how the more things change, the more they need a human to figure out how to make the shiat work.
 
2017-09-30 04:35:25 PM  

Far Cough: Well first the concept is not even unusual, since of course a classic test of a language compiler is whether it can compile its own code properly.  And second, yeah, at least one of the proponents in the article is saying out loud that the goal should be removing the need for traditional programmers.

I guess the ultimate idea is to express the business or other requirements in human language and let the MCP sort it all out.  Ironically though the current TLA+ solution is apparently heavily mathematical or arcane.

/only know what I read in TFA+


I'd say there's a big difference between a compiler that compiles it's own code, and one that develops the next generation compiler for you (perhaps for a new, yet to be defined language?), where all you have to do to is arrange some WYSIWYG modules and adjust some sliders.

I don't really find it ironic that TLA+ is heavily mathematical and arcane. Natural human languages are terrible at expressing ideas and instructions in a clear, concise, and unambiguous way. They rely on the human brain to fill in the missing information. It's very error-prone, so we get around this by creating industry specific terminology that is usually not understood by those outside that industry. I see programming languages as just an extension of that idea, and it will be a very long time before you no longer need people who really understand how programs work.
 
2017-09-30 04:44:13 PM  
Well, that was super interesting.

/currently training as a 911 operator, and we use intrado...
//coolest job I've ever had. 5 screens, 3 mice, 2 keyboards, 2 phones, and every record, call or serial number you can think of.
 
2017-09-30 04:52:09 PM  

X-Geek: Far Cough: Well first the concept is not even unusual, since of course a classic test of a language compiler is whether it can compile its own code properly.  And second, yeah, at least one of the proponents in the article is saying out loud that the goal should be removing the need for traditional programmers.

I guess the ultimate idea is to express the business or other requirements in human language and let the MCP sort it all out.  Ironically though the current TLA+ solution is apparently heavily mathematical or arcane.

/only know what I read in TFA+

I'd say there's a big difference between a compiler that compiles it's own code, and one that develops the next generation compiler for you (perhaps for a new, yet to be defined language?), where all you have to do to is arrange some WYSIWYG modules and adjust some sliders.

I don't really find it ironic that TLA+ is heavily mathematical and arcane. Natural human languages are terrible at expressing ideas and instructions in a clear, concise, and unambiguous way. They rely on the human brain to fill in the missing information. It's very error-prone, so we get around this by creating industry specific terminology that is usually not understood by those outside that industry. I see programming languages as just an extension of that idea, and it will be a very long time before you no longer need people who really understand how programs work.


My post about Python/QT kind of goes into that.  Knowing just a bit of terminology one can open QT Designer and come up with a good looking UI for anything pretty fast, but it won't actually do anything.  Everything there just has placeholder values and you have to code around that.

Unity is sort of like that too.  One can make an entire video game without writing a single line of actual code because Unity can do it all for you.  All you have to actually do is place objects and set parameters (which is why we see so many shiatty Unity games these days).  But if there's a bug or you're trying to do stuff beyond the scope of what Unity was designed to do, ala KSP, you have to know how to actually debug and write code (or wait & hope Unity devs fix it upstream....can be a wish in one hand, shiat in the other situation).

I don't think we'll ever get to a point in time where some sort of low-level, text editor using programmer isn't needed -- someone has to maintain the program used by everyone else to write all their programs with a gui and/or voice controls.
 
2017-09-30 06:16:56 PM  
img.fark.netView Full Size
 
2017-09-30 06:37:47 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: Didn't Windows 3.1 use an integer clock that would freeze the system after 2^31 ticks?


The OS didn't crash, but lots of software did.  They added a 64 bit version in XP, but anyone who was dumb enough to use it that way probably didn't know enough to fix that.

Fixing one of those bugs was one of the first major things I did professionally.
 
2017-09-30 07:14:23 PM  

Xzano: Stay tuned when java programmers read the disclaimer license on most software languages, the parts where it says "Hey our shiat totally isn't up to the standards of keeping people alive, or anything where nuclear explosions might happen."


I have been in a meeting where someone in management bright up agile development.  It was then pointed out that our system was a specific example in Wikipedia of something you would never use agile on.
 
2017-09-30 07:44:26 PM  
"
Victor wanted something more immediate. "If you have a process in time," he said, referring to Mario's path through the level, "and you want to see changes immediately, you have to map time to space." He hit a button that showed not just where Mario was right now, but where he would be at every moment in the future: a curve of shadow Marios stretching off into the far distance. What's more, this projected path was reactive: When Victor changed the game's parameters, now controlled by a quick drag of the mouse, the path's shape changed. It was like having a god's-eye view of the game. The whole problem had been reduced to playing with different parameters, as if adjusting levels on a stereo receiver, until you got Mario to thread the needle. With the right interface, it was almost as if you weren't working with code at all; you were manipulating the game's behavior directly."

And this works great and looks amazing when you're determining how high Mario is going to jump on a screen. When the answer is visual. And the rest is a cute demo. "Look, I found this without doing unit tests". Oh, great. So, you're not going to write unit tests? Or, you are, in which case, you're still going to be doing that work anyway.

Don't ever show me a demo with storing CRUD data or doing a binary search. That's farking easy and shows your tech demo just fine. Show me how your cool new thing tackles stuff that's really farking difficult. Demonstrate it with an insurance quote system using a ton of table data.

"When the audience first saw this in action, they literally gasped. They knew they weren't looking at a kid's game, but rather the future of their industry. Mostsoftware involved behavior that unfolded, in complex ways, over time, and Victor had shown that if you were imaginative enough, you could develop ways to see that behavior and change it, as if playing with it in your hands. One programmer who saw the talk wrote later: "Suddenly all of my tools feel obsolete."

And yet, 5 years after this demo, no-one is doing this stuff. The way to improve Javascript development is by improving the language, creating things like Typescript that make it a compiled, OOP language.

I've heard about "we can get rid of code" for 25 years. I've seen demos of visual design tools for that long. It's never happened. It works fine if you're doing kids stuff in Scratch. But you start making something big and complex, it's hard to follow.
 
2017-09-30 07:55:06 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: Far Cough: I guess the ultimate idea is to express the business or other requirements in human language and let the MCP sort it all out

I had a COBOL professor in 1980 tell my class that programmers would be made obsolete, probably by 2000.  And almost certainly by 2020.

Funny how the more things change, the more they need a human to figure out how to make the shiat work.


For the types of things that you use COBOL for, it is obsolete. COBOL is designed around a paradigm of processing sequential records. The most complex COBOL programs are really the equivalent of Excel macros that read in a set of numbers from one workbook and write out a second workbook.

With the visualization tools built into Excel today, anything you could do in COBOL really does boil down to drag and drop and tweak a few dials in Excel and Power View. (I think that's what it's called.)

This has gone on forever, where we understand a problem domain, we can generalize it and simplify it. That's exactly the problem that they describe in visual studio, it's 4 decades of optimized generalizations tacked on to a text editor. The XAML creation in Visual Studio and Blend is exactly this sort of WYSIWYG editing/coding which is both great, and a curse because it makes it easy to whip something up visually but the result is almost never optimal.
 
2017-09-30 08:23:58 PM  

jdbob: Resig is a celebrated programmer of JavaScript

Someone celebrates JavaScript?
---


Apparently so...
---
i.pinimg.comView Full Size
 
2017-09-30 09:38:24 PM  

Tanqueray: I'm looking forward to the day when computer programmers are obsolete.


Meh - when computers can program better than people, computers will be able to do.....everything.....better than people.
 
2017-09-30 10:59:11 PM  

jaytkay: ,Marcus Aurelius: And who doesn't let the database assign new call numbers?

Say they define call number as an 8 digit integer. There is nothing available after 99,999,999.


Only an idiot (or lazy) programmer would use an 8-digit text field to store an integer, or even limit an ID number to only 8 digits, when all modern computer systems can use a 8-byte binary field to store signed (as in, both positive and negative) integer values up to 8,000,000,000,000,000,000 (that's 8 billion billions). To put that ridiculously high number into perspective, if everyone in the world (7 Billion people) called in to that 911 center every day, it would take 3 MILLION years to run out of unique caller IDs.
 
2017-10-01 12:45:01 AM  
Great article, subby  If a little long.

Thanks to that I just learned about TLA+ and am not pursuing a rabbit-hole of lectures on the subject.
 
2017-10-01 01:16:54 AM  

nanim: jdbob: Resig is a celebrated programmer of JavaScript

Someone celebrates JavaScript?
---

Apparently so...
--- [i.pinimg.com image 320x316]


Not sure if trolling or just confused.
 
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