re: The Future of Programming - Rejected! VIEW POST


IMO we are still discovering areas where regulation might be necessary to protect us from ourselves (or at least snake oil merchants) with software.

The physical world has been here before, and we have many many regulations about the things we make, obvious stuff like: building regulations for houses; safety tests for motor vehicles; seat belts; wiring regulations; etc. etc.

Almost all of these regulations have been created in the past 150 years, as we moved from trusted artisan craftspeople (eg: 'real' architects who designed/built magnificent cathedrals) to mass market, low cost production (eg: local builders who put up temporary housing in the bazaar), and all have been driven by failure, sometimes very big failures, which are still happening today (eg: Grenfell Tower), and we are still adjusting the rules.

Software is already following this pattern, the failures are accumulating in different fields, eg: direct fatalities from Boeing 737 Max deaths, Uber self-driving vehicle killing a pedestrian, Therac 25 medical overdoses; indirect fatalities from social media bullying, ransomware shutdowns of hospitals, digital currency crime, high speed trading making/breaking firms and the people in them (there are regular trader suicides) and the rise of automation pushing people to destruction (recent gunman in Texas). Expect regulation to follow, albeit slowly because the law is an ass (donkey! I'm English).

All that doom & gloom said, I wouldn't expect the fun to reduce, nobody stops people designing, building & indeed trying things themselves, unless it becomes a threat to life or limb (sorry Timmy, you can't pack explosives in your bedroom, and no you shouldn't be releasing malware either!), which is typically already covered by existing regulation :)

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