AI project. =)
Joshua 'Schwa' Gargus
schwa at cc.gatech.edu
Wed Aug 14 02:59:35 UTC 2002
On Tue, Aug 13, 2002 at 06:03:13PM -0300, Jecel Assumpcao Jr wrote:
> On Tuesday 13 August 2002 16:48, Joshua 'Schwa' Gargus wrote:
> > On Tue, Aug 13, 2002 at 04:12:14PM -0300, Jecel Assumpcao Jr wrote:
> > > [Jaron Lanier (sorry about the spelling!) and software limits]
> > I had read this before, and skimmed it again, and didn't see where he
> > made this claim. Could you point it out to me? The closest thing
> > that I saw was that after 30 years, Unix (Linux, MacOS X) is again
> > the Next Big Thing. However, he attributes this to bad design rather
> > than bumping up against intrinsic limits.
> That was how I read the beginning of page 11:
> If anything, there's a reverse Moore's Law observable in software: As
> processors become faster and memory becomes cheaper, software
> becomes correspondingly slower and more bloated, using up all
> available resources. Now I know I'm not being entirely fair here. We
> have better speech recognition and language translation than we used
> to, for example, and we are learning to run larger data bases and
> networks. But our core techniques and technologies for software simply
> haven't kept up with hardware. (Just as some newborn race of
> superintelligent robots are about to consume all humanity, our dear
> old species will likely to be saved by a Windows crash. The poor
> robots will linger pathetically, begging us to reboot them, even
> though they'll know it would do no good.)
Ah, I see. That is a reasonable reading of that passage. However, in
his rebuttals of some criticisms of the essay
(www.edge.org/discourse/jaron_answer.html), he cites several
historical trends that were locally exponential, but did not continue
(eg: work becomes obsolete by the year 2000). I don't think that he
is asserting the existence of an unavoidable law that causes software
to bloat; note he begins with the phrase "If anything...". He is
using a rhetorical device to rebut Belief #5 (That qualitative as well
as quantitative aspects of information systems will be accelerated by
> He is 100% right, of course, and then goes on to talk about the
> "brittleness" problem in software.
> What I don't agree with is that these are natural features of software,
I think that Jaron would agree with your disagreement.
> but only that they are the reflection of the Von Neumann architecture
> (where every single transistor and machine cycle "counts") on our
> current programming style and languages. I know he tried hard to create
> a different style and failed.
Did he? I am unfamiliar with his contributions outside of the area of VR.
> Other people have also failed. But his
> conclusions from this are no more sound than some very observant person
> deciding in 1902 that the airplane was impossible.
> -- Jecel
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