We no longer understand the technology we rely on

Part 1 of a historical perspective

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It’s only since recent times that people are using things they really don’t understand. Let me explain. Until fairly recently, everything you would use or encounter would be comprehensible. You would simply see in front of you how it worked.

The invention of the mechanical clock was a step towards a complexity beyond the comprehension of many, while the industrial revolution started the creation of things even more complex, with the steam machines and inventions like the spinning jenny. But still, these were all tangible things that could be looked at, investigated and repaired.

Now, we’re in a completely different age. It’s fundamentally different in the sense that almost everyone around the globe is using things we can’t look inside of, and don’t understand the functioning of in the slightest. And, if we were to look inside, we would see something completely alien. Nothing tangible, but something at an abstraction level higher: language (and lots of it). We would see software.

The benefits of software are, of course, enormous; it propels our economy forward and when used properly, improves our quality of life. The impact of software is massive and pushes us into a new digital age.

In the age of the plow, it was no problem to rely on it. When the plow was broken, (almost) anybody could repair it. This became harder with the clocks, the steam machines and the first cars. But it has become impossible in the age of software. Only dedicated specialists can do it, and to make matters more difficult, they don’t necessarily work according to your schedule.

We now rely on technology we no longer understand. We need to get a grip on this new situation. It’s not a problem having to rely on other people to fix things, but it is a problem when you don’t truly understand what’s behind it.

At SIG, we’ve made a mission out of making software transparent. Our team, together with Sigrid, our software assurance platform, can help you open the “black box” to get to that understanding – cutting costs, reducing risk and accelerating your digital transformation along the way.

Read part 2 of this historical perspective: Technology ages faster than the people using it

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