Exponential advancement of software

From: Ben Goertzel (ben@goertzel.org)
Date: Tue Sep 17 2002 - 09:40:02 MDT

I have been thinking about this issue some more.

The advancement of software seems to be oddly spotty, actually.

Some software types, like word processors and general-purpose programming
languages, do seem to advance slowly. Some technologies generally seem to
plateau -- and word processors seem to have plateaued in the same sense
that, say, chairs and tables have. Yeah, there are new chairs, better
ergonomic chairs, etc. -- but no amazing new advances in chairdom for quite
some time....

On the other hand, I've been working with Maple a fair bit lately, and
there's no doubt in my mind that mathematical software has advanced
exponentially. I remember using tools like Derive back in the 80's -- they
could graph simple 1-D function and do some very simple equation-solving.
Comparatively, modern tools like Maple, Mathematica and MATLAB are just

The same could be said for graphic software such as Photoshop & Flash ...
that stuff has come a LONG way..

I imagine that if one analyzed the progress of software in detail, one would
find that, as with hardware, some subdomains have exponentially advanced and
some have stagnated. Comparing "software progress" generally with "computer
hardware progress" is not a great comparison, because software is a huge
diverse universe, whereas computer hardware is a narrower set of
technologies, within the larger domain of all hardware (some aspects of
which have advanced rapidly, others not).

-- Ben G

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