Re: Programming project required

From: Samantha Atkins (
Date: Sun Jan 21 2001 - 14:44:33 MST

denis bider wrote:
> > It is up to moral programmers with a vision of how we could do
> > things far better than we do now to choose the tools that they
> > believe are the best and to use those successfully on enough
> > projects to give them continuing life and dominance and to
> > make room to develop the next set of tools and the next after
> > that until we develop tools that take over their own development
> > largely.
> Why?

Why? Well because all of our dreams on this list are dependent on
computers working really well and being quite responsive and
dependable. In short they are dependent on software. The forces of the
market once software is considered something to own, lock down and dole
out licenses to result in extremely brittle and undependable software
(without mentioning all the other ills this brings about). We have a
tremendous software crunch where we do not have the technological means
to quickly and dependably produce software to meet the software demand
much less produce really good human mind-augmentation tools that are
desperately needed.

A critical mass of people that understand where we are and are willing
to do what they can to move the software situation in a more desirable
direction is pretty essential. Ultimately we need to build software
that learns to build, modify and extend itself. This is one of the
crucial steps toward SI. It has often been said that programmers expend
a great deal of energy automating everyone else's work but their own.
There are market reasons this is so. This must change.

> [Sorry to intervene, but this is quite a strong statement, and I'm tempted
> to learn where your motivation comes from. It seems you have an awful lot of
> energy and desire to change things - even after quite a few years of being
> around, as I infer from your message. I wonder how you manage to hold on to
> that energy? Also, note that I'm not saying your energy is good or bad, it
> may be either - Martin Luther King Jr had this kind of energy and it was
> good, but Hitler had it as well and it was bad.]

It is in part precisely because I have been around so long and seen so
much of the underbelly of software production that I do have so much
energy and desire to change things. The knowledge of what needs to be
stays around and becomes ever more inescapable. Actually moving
congruently with that knowledge is much more difficult. But I've become
enough of a goddess in particular areas to over time be able to sell
employers on doing projects that add to what I believe needs to be done
or develop some subpiece while satisfying their own needs. This has been
a difficult balancing act. After my current committments are cleared I
plan to go at this work more directly. More about that as I further
develop and work out my plans.

- samantha

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