I’ve seen problems where folks were trying valiantly to move forward with the wrong abstraction, but having very little success. Adding new features was incredibly hard, and each success further complicated the code, which made adding the next feature even harder. When they altered their point of view from “I must preserve our investment in this code” to “This code made sense for a while, but perhaps we’ve learned all we can from it,” and gave themselves permission to re-think their abstractions in light of current requirements, everything got easier. Once they inlined the code, the path forward became obvious, and adding new features become faster and easier.The moral of this story? Don’t get trapped by the sunk cost fallacy. If you find yourself passing parameters and adding conditional paths through shared code, the abstraction is incorrect. It may have been right to begin with, but that day has passed
Category Archives: Coding, Software Engineering, Computer Science
Consumer Reports: The Future of Memory Safety
Consumer Reports published a paper on promoting the use of memory safe-languages and the challenges involved: Memory Safety Convening Report – Memory-Safety-Convening-Report.pdf
More in The Register
An introduction to ChatGPT for educators
Jonathan Soma, a professor at Columbia’s Journalism School, wrote a short, useful introduction to ChatGPT for educators that will offer some insight for those interested:
Source: An introduction to ChatGPT for educators (and maybe journalists)
Google Engineer Claims AI Chatbot Is Sentient: Why That Matters – Scientific American
This was from May of last year, it feels like ten years ago already. The prognosticators saying that Google is in trouble because of ChatGPT aren’t recognizing the work that Google, and many other companies, have already put into machine learning. Between these efforts, and many others, it’s going to be a mind-blowing year.
Lemoine, a software engineer at Google, had been working on the development of LaMDA for months. His experience with the program, described in a recent Washington Post article, caused quite a stir. In the article, Lemoine recounts many dialogues he had with LaMDA in which the two talked about various topics, ranging from technical to philosophical issues. These led him to ask if the software program is sentient.
Source: Google Engineer Claims AI Chatbot Is Sentient: Why That Matters – Scientific American
The Expanding Dark Forest and Generative AI
A thought provoking essay from Maggie Appleton about where we are, and where we’re headed, with Generative AI and the Internet:
Proving you’re a human on a web flooded with generative AI content
“In the Shadow of the CMS”
Kyle Chayka, in The Nation, shares a piece chronicling how content management systems shape current media now and in the futureIt’s an interesting, thoughtful read.
CMSs are like digital printing presses: They determine how journalism gets published online. But unlike the printing press, CMSs also increasingly influence not just how stories look but how they are produced, discovered, read, and monetized. To attempt another comparison: If an article is like a bag of chips for the consumer, then a CMS is like the vending machine. CMSs shape every media company from top to bottom, publisher to reader.
50 years ago Doug Engelbart and team demoed the future
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Doug Engelbart’s groundbreaking 1968 Demo – also known as “The Mother of All Demos.”
It was there at the 1968 Fall Joint Computer Conference that Doug and his team at SRI first presented their seminal work in personal and collaborative computing to the world – this was the debut of the mouse, windows, hypermedia, file sharing, teleconferencing, and much, much more.
So much of SRI vision has come to pass, so much has yet to be realized. I wonder what comes next, and who is working towards it?
If you have yet to see this, take the time out of your week to do so.
Software Engineering as a University Major?
@jon_moore asked his Twitter followers what would Software Engineering as a University Major look like and he posted the interesting replies to to a storify post worth checking out. I found an interesting article, at Dr. Dobbs by Chuck Connell, on contrasts between Software Engineering and Computer Science that I largely agree with.
John Allspaw: “There is no Resilience Engineering … without real dialogue about real practice in the world.”
John Allspaw wrote a fascinating roundup of his thoughts on the 6th Resilience Engineering Symposium.
This, in particular, caught my eye:
There is no Resilience Engineering (or Cognitive Systems Engineering or Systems Safety for that matter) without real dialogue about real practice in the world. In other words, there is no such thing as purely academic here.
Philadelphia Central High Robotics Team is Going to the World Championship!
Watch the inspiring news segment on the RoboLancers at NBC10. Go RoboLancers!