Better tools for people to use

Steve Witham (
Tue, 31 Dec 1996 03:36:42 -0500

I had said:

>> Anyway, what I'm saying is that the real work of AI is the work being
>> done
>> by more "mundane" programmers: organizing knowledge in better, more
>> compatible, computer-manipulable ways. So, much of software development
>> is leading to AI, or the singularity, whichever comes first, but it's all
>> the same process.

MAX M Rasmussen replied:

>Thats right but i believe it should be more focused against empovering the
>end-user. The whole idea of system development is a bummer. It should be
>possible for the end-user to develop their own systems.
>Of course it's not easy and it can't be done today ot tomorrow, but if we
>focus on that as the end-goal, then it should happen sometime.

A belated amen. Making things that are clear for humans (and maybe happen
to have application to AI) is better than making techniques for AI that
don't help clarify anything for regular people. Even if they're technically
equivalent, the emphasis on clarity and user accessibility is important.
It's just that human-useable computer techniques are probably AI-useable

Also I share the intuition that programmability by end-users and visual
programming are important. It seems to me that programs to deal with a
subject matter should be created by people into that subject, and in
a style that makes sense to those people, not by programmers in C++.
Having so many programmers (I'm a programmer by trade btw) seems like
having a society ruled by plumbers or lawyers--there's just something
*wrong* with it.

I think part of the problem is that since programmers *can* write programs
in C++, the idea of making higher-level systems seems self-indulgent.
Managers don't like the idea of programming as a quest, a project for the
empowerment, uplift, transcendence even, of humanity. And programmers like
me are nerds, of course, willing to follow orders if it means we get to
engage our nerdly skills. You know, "What was I thinking, uplift, hah...
I should get back to work..."

--Steve (the mad poster, shooting from the hip, hooting from the ship,
shouting from the laptop, watch out postmaster)

"It just keeps going and going and therefore you yourself have to keep
 going and going." --Energizer Bunny researcher