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[–] AmaleksHairyAss 5 points 19 points (+24|-5) ago 

The author is being deliberately obtuse. The claim is that only the work that happens above the programmer's level will be needed. Someone tells programmers what to write today, in a much higher level language called English. The claim is those instructions will suffice. And those instructions certainly are not code.

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[–] alexkobold 2 points 8 points (+10|-2) ago 

If we could "compile" a spec written in English into an executable file then the spec would be "code", no?

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[–] Pepper-theDoctor 1 points 5 points (+6|-1) ago  (edited ago)

The author and you are both being obtuse now. You can play with words but if that scenario becomes reality, having a specialized developer role will be phased out because any idiot who knows English can replace them.

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[–] VrIgHtEr 1 points 6 points (+7|-1) ago 

right. someone does tell the programmer what to code. Except most of the time there are conflicting requirements, outright impossible stuff, missing details, ambiguous stuff.

And the programmer has to make sense of it all. No, they won't be replaced.

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[–] 9028429 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

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[–] AmaleksHairyAss 1 points 0 points (+1|-1) ago 

This is difficult, therefore a computer will never be able to do it.

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[–] wallofsilence 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

I don't know how it is where you work, but what I get is just barely coherent. Shit like "The user interface shall be user-friendly." and "The security of the system shall be robust". I'm sure it'll work out great when computers write the code. You want Skynet? That's how you get Skynet.

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[–] 9027394 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago 

We'll first need users though that are able to accurately state what it is they want. I think my job is safe for now...

[–] [deleted] 1 points 18 points (+19|-1) ago 

[Deleted]

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[–] wesofx 0 points 8 points (+8|-0) ago  (edited ago)

Automagic programmers already exist and they're called compilers! lol EDIT: they're*

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[–] bikergang_accountant 1 points 4 points (+5|-1) ago 

Day tork ur jerbs.

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[–] carlinco 0 points 16 points (+16|-0) ago  (edited ago)

The actual point here to me is that when computers are advanced enough to understand what we actually want not only from our words but also from context and 'knowing' us, they'll be intelligent enough to replace the person who wants the app (manager, politician...), too.

Edit: But the author of the comic does not seem to think that far - doesn't even get the fact that some programming languages are easier on the human brain than others.

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[–] DickHertz 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Exactly. If a machine can understand natural language why would you waste it's time writing code? in fact when it gets to that point the machine and everyone else may have no idea of what low level instructions to run to convey the same thing as something in a spoken language they same way we have a huge gap of understanding between our physiology and our thoughts.

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[–] carlinco 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Possible - depends on how the first ai is programmed. But they'll have much better memory than humans, so they'll quickly be able to learn all about coding - much more than any humans will ever understand about our genes.

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[–] elitch2 0 points 4 points (+4|-0) ago 

Ha! Sure guys. How about we focus on cleaning up the mess being made by substandard indian "coders" for the last decade?

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[–] Philosopher_King 2 points 2 points (+4|-2) ago 

The people in the comments talking about how dumb this comic is, are like the same people who said switch board operators will never go away.

Programmers will definitely be out of business within the next hundred years, but there will be a new need for something different that evolves from a computer programming itself. Though, it will be more niche.

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[–] worthlesshope 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago 

The new thing would probably be "thinkers" someone intelligent and creative enough to come up with the idea necessary to get something done.

People always say an idea is worth nothing, but I think an idea is worth everything. There are few good ideas out there and it's hard to come up with a good idea.

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[–] carlinco 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago  (edited ago)

I think programmers (and related fields, like tech support) will be among the last to be rationalised away - even though much more money is invested into getting rid of them than getting rid of middle management, administration, and other such jobs, where it would often be trivial to let a computer do the work at much higher quality.

Edit: Programmers, understanding the technology, will simply be more able to adapt to changing needs.

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[–] tribblepuncher 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

Programmers will definitely be out of business within the next hundred years, but there will be a new need for something different that evolves from a computer programming itself. Though, it will be more niche.

I think that there may be a need for programmers, but fewer of them, probably highly and specially trained, and involved deep in the system. The fact that a computer can write most of the code does not mean that there will be no place for humans in the equation. Then again, they might make us entirely obsolete. This is a hard one to predict.

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[–] VitamenGSpot 0 points 0 points (+0|-0) ago 

It could be machine learning but none of the programmers I know are willing to learn the math.

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[–] Philosopher_King 1 points -1 points (+0|-1) ago 

Well, I know many programmers who can barely do simple arithmetic. The main issue is we don't have a high bar for programmers and anyone can sit off on their coach and become one, with no training for education needed.

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[–] vpoint 1 points 2 points (+3|-1) ago 

Not really true as there is a clear goal - higher abstraction.

The goal is a smart search engine with natural language processing doing the job of finding all pieces necessary to generate your project. So when you say "give me a 3d fire simulation using a perlin noise function.. i want to rotate and scale as well as sliders for parameters" it will autogenerate instead of requiring to type everything manually and people are absolutely working on building that.

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[–] Citizen 1 points 6 points (+7|-1) ago 

OK, we have a 3d fire simulation using a perlin noise function. Nothing specified any kind of output, so we can optimize that whole thing away. Considering the simulation was optimized away, there are no parameters, so no sliders needed, we can optimize those away. And there's nothing left to rotate or scale. So we can optimize that away.

Your code: int main(void) { return 0; }

The point being, your English abstract was not precise enough to generate an unambiguous program. At some point, code will be written in a sort of pseudo-English, but even then it will be a more precise vocabulary, syntax and grammar, perhaps with some kind of question and answer session to resolve ambiguity. The people who know how to think in a precise enough manner to design and define programs will be called "programmers".

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[–] vpoint 0 points 2 points (+2|-0) ago  (edited ago)

You intentionally assume the program being too dumb to interpret it correctly to prove a point but that can be easily avoided. You can have default output behaviour. Simulation would create a window where it renders something in a default frame unless something different is specified. 3d fire would likewise just access a library of examples and select the one with the highest probabilty. It could possibly let you even select the model from multiple examples.

It doesn't need to be perfect. It just needs to be good enough to generate usable output.

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[–] tame 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

You're right that the English requirements were underspecified, they were still more than adequate for a human programmer to follow. Software tools will (in the next decade, IMO) be able to take such a high level description and fill in the blanks to produce a useful result.

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[–] cyks 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

You will find yourself debugging, optimizing and restructuring control flow so much along with maintaining adequate search engine AI that it would be easier to just copy and paste your own code.

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[–] vpoint 0 points 3 points (+3|-0) ago  (edited ago)

Remember wysiwyg webeditors? Same thing, high abstraction with shitty code generation, it worked and people used it. People now want the same for programs in general.

Abstraction can never be as good as low level implementations from a professional but people happily take the shitty adaption when it's comfortable as it's easier and faster. We took that decision already multiple times - when we went from assembler to high level languages like C and further with libraries wich offer another level of abstraction and finally to full-blown engines . It's just the next logical step.

[–] [deleted] 1 points 2 points (+3|-1) ago 

[Deleted]

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[–] 9023078 1 points 9 points (+10|-1) ago 

English is ambiguous and verbose, so have fun.

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[–] Vortonet 1 points 4 points (+5|-1) ago  (edited ago)

I know, these people are weird. It's like saying that writing

"Given an x value, the point on a straight line that crosses the Y axis and the gradient of the line, you can discover what the y value of that line is by multiplying the x value by the slope and adding the point where it crosses the Y axis."

is easier than writing:

y = mx + b

[–] [deleted] 1 points 2 points (+3|-1) ago 

[Deleted]

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[–] Wonder_Boy 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago 

Missed his point. Wants easy code that requires as little new learning as possible from day 1.

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[–] Neo-maxi-zoom-dweeby 1 points 2 points (+3|-1) ago 

Ugh - gross. The best thing about programming is symbolic representation.

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[–] 9026250 0 points 1 points (+1|-0) ago  (edited ago)

People also seem to be assuming that a robot coder has to get it 100% right the first time after one explanation from a human or it's a total failure. Real software development doesn't even work this way. The human would say, "Prototype a thing that does xyz". Then further refine the explanation off the prototype. "Make this more blah. Make that more bleh. Add a thingy here. Redo this so it looks more whatever."

The difference is, a robot coder might be able to make these changes so fast, you could see the results in real time. So "programming" would be more like drawing a picture in one of those sketching programs where you can just ctl-z after every mis-stroke until it looks just how you want.

Except each "stroke" would be on its' own layer so you could easily modify any of them at any time.

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