26 March 2010

What Is Software?

It is interesting to see children grow up with the web and with software. Computers and hardware are becoming a non-topic. My 7-year-old son only cares about web access. His tools are Google, Wikipedia, and various other web sites. He knows more about Google's location based services than I do, and he rarely touches any of the hardware toys that earlier generations grew up with. The things that he produces on the computer are artefacts that involve several layers of pure software abstraction: emails, pictures, web sites, music, videos.

Ultimately humans will exchange less and less hardware goods or artefacts, and more and more software artefacts. And as we make software artefacts more intuitive and easy to use, it even makes sense to consider human face to face communication as a form of software - it's certainly not hardware. But the shift to the software-centric paradigm will only be complete once the users of the old hardware-centric paradigm have died out.

-- Jorn