Understandable by Humans, Executable by Machines

Stephen Wolfram thinks that language is the key for a future in which machines and humans grow together. His argument is compelling, and I urge you to watch his video AI & The Future Of Civilization.

What will the world look like when most people can write code?

Today, a small fraction of the population can write code. Most of the code they write is for computers only. You don’t understand things by reading code. But there will come a time when, as a result of things I’ve tried to do, the code is at a high enough level that it’s a minimal description of what you’re trying to do.

It will be a piece of code that’s understandable to humans but also executable by the machines.

Coding is a form of expression, just as writing in a natural language is a form of expression.

One feature of code is that it’s immediately executable; it’s not like writing. When you write something, somebody has to read it, and the brain that’s reading it has to absorb the thoughts that came from the person who did the writing.

Natural language: the ability to represent knowledge abstractly enough that we can communicate it brain to brain, so to speak. Arguably, natural language is our species’ most important invention. It’s what led, in many respects, to our civilization.

There’s yet another level [..] With knowledge-based programming, we have a way of creating an actual representation of real things in the world in a precise and symbolic way. Not only is it understandable by brains and communicable to other brains and to computers, it’s also immediately executable.

I was pointed to this through (the wonderful) Possible Minds, edited by John Brockman.

Published by Nitzan

I am a designer, writer and strategist with interest in machine learning, liminal thinking and complexity science. In my commercial work I help companies build innovative tools, design better qualitative processes, and lead that human machine collaboration with complexity in mind.

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