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Interview with Jaron Lanier on "Phenotropic" Development 264

Sky Lemon writes "An interview with Jaron Lanier on Sun's Java site discusses 'phenotropic' development versus our existing set of software paradigms. According to Jaron, the 'real difference between the current idea of software, which is protocol adherence, and the idea [he is] discussing, pattern recognition, has to do with the kinds of errors we're creating' and if 'we don't find a different way of thinking about and creating software, we will not be writing programs bigger than about 10 million lines of code no matter how fast our processors become.'"
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Interview with Jaron Lanier on "Phenotropic" Development

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  • Just a thought (Score:2, Informative)

    by Neophytus ( 642863 ) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @12:34PM (#5157049)
    The day a compiler makes programs based on what it thinks we want a program to do is the day that conventional computing goes out the window.
  • by rpiquepa ( 644694 ) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @01:13PM (#5157246) Homepage
    I wrote the following on Dec. 20, 2002 about phenotropics. Jaron Lanier is mostly known for being the guy behind the expression "virtual reality." For its special issue "Big [and Not So Big] Ideas For 2003 [cio.com]," CIO Magazine talked with him about a new concept -- at least for me -- phenotropics. "The thing I'm interested in now is a high-risk, speculative, fundamental new approach to computer science. I call it phenotropics," says the 42-year-old Lanier. By pheno, he means the physical appearance of something, and by tropics, he means interaction. Lanier's idea is to create a new way to tie two pieces of software together. He theorizes that two software objects should contact each other "like two objects in nature," instead of through specific modules or predetermined points of contact. Jason Lanier also talks about software diversity to enhance security. Check this column [weblogs.com] for a summary or the original article [cio.com] for more details."
  • by Pentagram ( 40862 ) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @01:16PM (#5157258) Homepage
    Who modded this up? A single base change in DNA is almost never fatal. For a start, considerably more than 90% of the human genome is junk that has no expressive effect anyway (according to some theories it helps protect the rest of the genome.) Even point mutations in coding sections of the DNA often do not significantly alter the shape of the protein it codes for, and many proteins are coded for in several locations in the genome.

    True, single base changes can have dramatic effects, but this is rare. As an example, the human genetic equipment is so fault-tolerant that humans can be even born with 3 copies of a chromosome and still survive (Down's Syndrome).
  • by blamanj ( 253811 ) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @02:28PM (#5157596)
    This is an interesting concept..but i don't see how it's physically possible.

    Actually, it's already been done. The programming language Linda [unibe.ch] by David Gelertner uses pattern matching.

    Everything exists in a large tuple-space and objects can be "written" into the space. They are "read" by pattern matching. Objects can be passive data or active processes.

    It's a very simple and elegant idea. The JINI and JavaSpaces projects use these concepts, which is probably why Lanier's article is on the Java site.
  • Re:Full of it. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Trinition ( 114758 ) on Saturday January 25, 2003 @03:53PM (#5157958) Homepage
    This guy obviously knows nothing about biology

    Neither do you. The base pairs in DNA work in groups of 3. There's 4^3 possible combinations then, in one group... 64. However, there are only about 25-30 different results. It has been shown that the various combinations that lead to the same result are nearly-optimal. That is, the liklihood that any one base pair would be incorrectly copied as another is least likely to have an effect on teh result of that group.

"The number of Unix installations has grown to 10, with more expected." -- The Unix Programmer's Manual, 2nd Edition, June, 1972