All of JohnFisher's Comments + Replies

Well I've heard those bank APIs break a lot. I think I am trying to say that software lifespan is not at all what it used to be 10-15 years ago. Software is just not a *thing* that gets depreciated, its a thing that never stops changing. This company here too separates infrastructure engineering from software, but that's not how the big kids play, and I am learning some bitter lessons about why. It really is better if the developers are in charge of deployment. Or at least constantly collaborating with the DevOps crew and the OPs crew. Granted ev... (read more)

Sorry but the software world described here has little to do with my daily work in software. As most apps have moved to webapps, and most servers are now in the Cloud, and most devices are IoT cloud-connected, as all these trends have happened, the paradigm for software has evolved to maximizing change.

Software never was very re-usable itself, but frameworks and APIs turned out to have huge value, so now we have systems everywhere based a a layered approach from OS up to application, where application software is quite abstracted from the OS and hardware a... (read more)

Sounds like you're mostly talking about ops, which is a different beast. An example from my previous job, to illustrate the sort of things I'm talking about: we had a mortgage app, so we called a credit report api, an api to get house data from an address, and an api to pull current pricing from the mortgage securities market (there were others, but those three were the most important). Within a six-month span, the first two apis made various small breaking changes to the format returned, and the third was shut down altogether and had to be switched to a new service. (We also had the whole backend setup on Kubernetes, and breaking changes there were pretty rare. But as long as the infrastructure is working, it's tangential to most engineers' day-to-day work; the bulk of the code is not infrastructure/process related. Though I suppose we did have a slew of new bugs every time anything in the stack "upgraded" to a new version.)

It feels to me like you are straying off the technical issues by looking at a huge picture.

In this case, a picture so huge it's unsolvable. So here's an assertion which might be interesting: Its better to focus on clusters of small, manageable machine-ethics problems and gradually build up to a Grand Scheme, or more likely in my guess, a Grand Messy But Workable System, rather than teasing-out a Bible of global ethical abstraction. There's no working consensus on ethical rules anyway, outside the Three Laws.

An example, maybe already solved: autonomous ca... (read more)

I think the huge picture is pretty important to look at. If we know the goal is far away, then we know that current projects are not going to get their usefulness from solving the whole problem. But that's fine, there are plenty of other uses for projects. Among others: * Early attempts can serve as landmarks for following ones, to help understand the problem. * Projects might work on implementing pieces that seem potentially useful given the big picture, like scaling with the skill of an externally-given world-model (and then this list can be applied to those sub-problems). * Blue-sky research on things that seem to have potential, without a mind to immediate application. Learning that the goal is far away means we want more blue-sky research. * Projects might be somewhere in-between, trying to integrate a novel development into current well-performing systems.

Sugar. Fruit or a glass of good juice or whatever works for you. Brain consumes quite a lot of energy, as probably all of you can quantify better than I. It is well understood in the software world that nobody can work well for hours straight. Everybody needs to take breaks. Young people foolishly believe they can do good work for hours on no sleep, but I don't agree.

Quiet. I am a bit deaf now, enough to have trouble parsing conversations. When I put on hearing protectors ( 10db? 20db? they work pretty well for $20) my IQ rises by 20 points. really.

Habit. ... (read more)