News and commentary about the Great Frontiers

ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) --- This view of Earth's horizon as the sunsets over the Pacific Ocean was taken by an Expedition 7 crewmember onboard the International Space Station (ISS). Anvil tops of thunderclouds are also visible. Credit: Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Image Credit: ISS007-E-10807 (21 July 2003) – Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

Software Automation


For some time now software has been a bottleneck in the development of computer technology. While hardware advances speed ahead on an exponential trajectory, software advances are sluggish in comparison. Several new efforts have been underway to help speed up the process, including aspect oriented programming and development tools that automate the compiling of data into different programming codes.

Care Technologies in Spain has announced a development tool that allows software to write itself, so to speak. Instead of programming, a user creates a model of the software program they need, complete with relationships between the various components. Then with the touch of a button, the application is generated by the tool from the user’s model. Independent tests have apparently confirmed improvement over other approaches of 12 to 47 times.

This appears to be an important first step into an era of software automation and the replacement of human programmers. It also foresees a day when an artificial intelligence will have access to its own source code so that it can reprogram itself. Such a day has been proposed as the onset of the Technological Singularity, because such an AI would advance its own intelligence in a matter of minutes and even seconds compared to the several million years humans have taken to reach our current level of intelligence through evolution. Several Singularity experts expect the event to happen by 2050 or sooner. Recent news hints at sooner rather than later.

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