Brave New Programmable World

Today, most of us in the industrialised world use at least two computers – a phone and a laptop. Many of us have a third device, a tablet, and more devices such as health monitoring and entertainment systems are being taken to use. Even cars are becoming powerful computing platforms that can be harnessed to serve our increasing needs for apps and data to consume.

Unfortunately, our practices, methods and techniques are not a good fit for such cornucopia of computers. We still treat them more like pets that each requires constant attention rather than accepting their new role as cattle, where no individual plays a defining role in our life. Therefore, new approaches are needed to harness the true power of computers around us to practical use. So-called liquid software is an attempt to build applications that from the end-user perspective flow from one computer to another, offering seamless computation experiences. This initiative is somewhat new, with the 2nd international workshop on liquid software being hosted in Rome, Italy, as a part of the International Conference on Web Engineering.

In addition to the techniques that will help us design software for numerous devices, another dimension to consider is what all these computers mean for humanity. What implications will the increasingly intelligent environment of the brave new programmable world have on our behaviour and actions as humans, as well as to what extent we should consider computers as part of our society are interesting questions for future research. Obviously, such work should be joint endeavour, executed by philosophers, social scientists and software engineers all together.

This blog post repeats the core message Tommi Mikkonen delivered in his inaugural presentation on May 31, 2017.

Tommi Mikkosen tervetuliaisluento (video of Tommi Mikkonen’s inaugural lecture, in Finnish)