Preventing The Collapse of Civilization

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#1 Posted by ghost_cat (2304 posts) -

I wanted to share what I thought to be a very insightful and enlighting talk Jonathan Blow made recently at a Russian video games conference called DevGAMM. The very simple take from the talk is that we, as a civilization reliant on software (that is very reliant on hardware), is becoming mediocre or even declining, and becoming increasingly prone to disastrous possibilities. Much of it can be traced to the fact that, due to a collective demand for a quick turn around, programmers and engineers tend to focus on high-level abstract problem solving these days, with less and less understanding or experience in the lower-level areas. Software is complicated to make because people have taken away low-level functionality, "simplify" process and deligated more and more minor roles to a growing body of software engineers.

There is much more to this then what I've tried to simplify in the video, but I found it very interesting because Blow is talking about a problem that's quite fundamental in nature: when you try to heavily simplify creation at a high level, you create complications that become harder or more time-consuming to fix. And when you don't teach people properly the same knowledge as the old masters have, quality work diminishes and quality workers/creators grow increasingly uncommon. Give the video a watch, because even though I'm not at all a programmer, I found his insight impactful to me and the work I wish to achieve as well.

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#2 Posted by Aska (540 posts) -

So cool to see someone mention this here on Giant Bomb.

I really adore this dude and follow basically every bit of his works. He is so smart and makes such good points. I'm so glad someone like him is working on these problems because software really is a giant mess, and there are few I trust more than him to try and solve that.

I'm so excited for his language to be out in the open so I can start using it. As someone who programs games and engines in C++ it looks like such a breath of fresh air.

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#3 Posted by OurSin_360 (6201 posts) -

Seems like the more we commercialize software the more it will get splintered by the need (or desire) for companies to have proprietary software that they can patent and own. Technology makes life easier but also 'free's' our brains from having to work to process the same amount of information. Like 20 years ago you probably could recite multiple phone numbers, now you may not even remember your own. I definitely see AI mixed with biometrics taking over at some point, where we essentially become cyborgs that rely on imbedded (or wearable) technology to process complex data. This will free people to be quicker and create things easier, but also forget basic things and become totally dependent on technology, which could lead to a society collapse possibly, or not. Also data being stored mostly digital, what if it gets wiped? How many people have studied enough to actually attain mastery in the base level tech to teach how to fix it? On the flip, combining human brains with AI or quantum computers could lead to some advancement we can't fathom atm.

I don't know, i find this stuff fascinating but i'm not even a programmer atm so i have no clue what i'm talking about lol

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#4 Posted by ghost_cat (2304 posts) -

With all of the things in the world to worry about, whether it's global warming or the collapse of civilization from bad software, it's somehow very relieving to hear that Jonathan Blow doesn't think singularity moment would ever happen.

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