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I would like to document here what I’ve learnt over the past couple years, what I’ve discovered and thought about around the future of computing as I see it.
First of all, what does “the future of computing” even mean?
Computers have only reached 5% of their potential, we have barely explored computation at all as a new medium it is still in its infancy. I do see much of the potential of computing coming from giving users more agency over their software and digital spaces. That is important. If people are given agency and are able to pull in the tools they need where they need them, then software has the opportunity to evolve. We will see a cambrian explosion of new types, even genres of software.
In the world of video games, the biggest genres came out of modding communities. Likewise, we likely haven’t discovered some of the most useful or interesting genres of software yet— we haven’t even had the opportunity.
The solution I often tout is “modularity”, “composability”— but what do these words even mean? I think we often see modularity as putting together LEGO pieces, but when it comes to software at a high level it is more like playing with toys made out of LEGO. These pieces of software must not “attach together” but rather exist within the same space, the same substrate, to be able to tell a story together.
- It is important to capture the essence of things
- Metaphors are often misused, but they can be powerful when used right
- We likely haven’t discovered most genres of software that will exist
- Are there new ways of seeing?
- Tech tree
- Graph data structure
- Layer of transformations between data types
- Interactions as affordances
This all feels like a tangled mess of ideas at the moment. It is my task to uncover the patterns, the language. I want not only to present my ideas around the future of computing, but to teach others how to speak this new language with me.
- The last pieces of composability in current software systems are fading away. The file system is being replaced by the cloud and all our data being stored in random databases without formats and out of our control.