As we all know, in the Terminator mythology, Kyle Reese goes back in time to try to stop or destroy the AI that will eventually become Skynet. And it never works, because you can never stop the progress of technology and you somehow leave a trail that future robots can find.
But what if… you could pervert technology, such that AI could never… ever… be developed. Say you were to poison engineering practices and create unusable tools at key moments in history, that would effectively cause a technological regression -- and prevent any future generation from being able to develop anything other than basic applications with software.
I think… I think… we’re already there. Let’s consider the technological regression of software right now:
- Development environments; the concept of a “press the green play button and debug” is quickly fading, and will become a Tool of the Ancients that no one will believe ever existed; instead, we’re seeing world-class tools like Visual Studio be replaced with wooooooowiiee-I-can-hack-a-text-editor-in-javasrcript-guuuuyzzzz garbage like Atom, Visual Studio Code, etc.
- Instant Messenger/Chat; this is basically dead. AIM circa 2002 was probably the best we’ve had to date; it was an open protocol, and tools like Pidgin or Trillian could be used. Everyone has since closed protocols, and we’re stuck with bloated garbage clients like Slack, Teams, etc. that use the CPU fan to indicate new messages are incoming.
- Web forums; enough said.
All told, we have been moving backwards in features and functions while requiring much more hardware. That’s not how it’s supposed to work.
About the only explanation I can come up with is that time travelers from the dystopian future used some Inception-like device to implant ideas into folks like Brendan Eich, Dennis Ritchie, and Linus Torvalds.
The advancement of the UNIX/Linux mindset of “nothing is intuitive, CLI or GTFO” -- combined with the “modern” development practices -- means that writing code as a job is becoming less and less accessible to people who would otherwise be great software developers, because they simply don’t want to memorize obscure commands and quirks for the shitpile of tools required today.
And now, I'm going to go back to figuring out how to use the 3 different copies of OneNote I have to keep in sync; Office 2016 is, thus far, the least usable since 2003.