“Software is eating the world” — Marc Andreessen (August 20, 2011)
The case for software today – infinite choices
In today’s world, the statement holds true. There is a deluge of software all around us. If you are looking for productivity software, you can choose between MS-Excel, LibreOffice, Zoho and a plethora of others. If you are looking for ERP, you may turn to SAP, Oracle and many others. We are inundated with choice. So, how do we choose the right software ? The answer is by research and trial & error. The problem is that if you take a gargantuan software like ERP, there are so many features that it has, it’s an impossible task to know all of them. On top of that, there is the question of best fit software for your needs. Also, does it take care of (say) 5 years of your company’s journey ? What I’m implying is that for the next 5 years, does the software guarantee that it will address your business / personal needs, without having to invest much on updates or newer versions. Now however simple your need may be, there will come a time when you hit the wall, with this new software of yours (even if your software is highly customizable), maybe in 6 months or 6 years.
Software limitation and the emergence of a new model
Maybe software that you bought addresses all your needs, respecting your timelines and budget. If so, consider yourself lucky. There are many people on the receiving end (customers) who have tales of woes, blaming perhaps the software company. Sometimes needs of a customer is not clear. Now, not knowing the problem statement of the customer, because either they are not clear about their vision or they are not co-operating, is a headache for a software developer. You see, without the customer’s involvement, no project is going to succeed. There may be other variables also in this ‘keep the customer happy’ equation. Software, no matter how great it is, is still limiting us. The reason is simple – there is just so much that code can do. However, in the last 10 years, the whole paradigm of software development has been toppled by the emergence of a new beast >> Artificial Intelligence. (AI)
The rise of AI
Software is everywhere. In your car, in your thermostat, in your computer, in your mobile phone and just about everything in the future. AI is also in many of your day to day devices. For example, the facial recognition your phone (Vision API), Amazon Echo (Voice assistant), Washing machine (Fuzzy Logic) and many others. Do you know there is at least 30 million lines of code in an average car ? So, here’s the revelation >> Every single aspect of our being, be it a watch or a car or anything will be housing AI (smart code) in the next 10-20 years. How we write software today, is different because of AI. Now we have self-modifying software. This simply means that a machine learns from the input that we provide or from the world and writes an algorithm that best suits the accomplishment of a goal. I’m not talking about rule-based systems, but systems which learn and become intelligent. So, the singularity (the day when machine intelligence will exceed that of a human) is a sure thing. Just a matter of time – maybe 10-15 years from now.
The future of software – no more writing code – automated self-service software
The future will be pick and choose software products. No code writing, just tell the machine what you want, and it will comply, by writing the tons of code, that otherwise, you would have written, to accomplish your tasks. Taking a cloud nine view, someday, the machine will know exactly what you need in advance. Say for example you start YouTube, then YouTube software will figure out which song you want to hear, and bam – it’s what plays (not just simple recommendations). This will be possible with thought-emotion-energy interfaces. We are at the tip of the iceberg. Very exciting times. And what the future holds, is a beautiful dream for all of us – where all of us co-exist in a wonderful planet. Machine’s will help us run our errands and we will have a lot of time for ourselves. Perhaps we will discover what it means to be a human, or perhaps machines will discover what it means to be a machine. And one day in the future a machine will say ‘I’m alive’.
God Bless !