Python is readable

Chris Angelico rosuav at gmail.com
Fri Mar 30 22:20:39 CEST 2012


On Sat, Mar 31, 2012 at 6:55 AM, Nathan Rice
<nathan.alexander.rice at gmail.com> wrote:
> I think you'd find that these "non coders" would do very well if given
> the ability to provide instructions in a natural, interactive way.
> They are not failing us, we are failing them.

The nearest thing to natural-language command of a computer is voice
navigation, which is another science that's plenty old and yet still
current (I first met it back in 1996 and it wasn't new then). You tell
the computer what you want it to do, and it does it. Theoretically.
The vocabulary's a lot smaller than all of English, of course, but
that's not a problem. The problem is that it's really REALLY slow to
try to get anything done in English, compared to a dedicated
domain-specific language (in the case of typical OS voice navigation,
the nearest equivalent would probably be a shell script).

> Really?  Or could it be that algorithms for natural language
> processing that don't fail miserably is a very recent development,
> restricted natural languages more recent still, and pretty much all
> commonly used programming languages are all ~20+ years old?  Could it
> also be that most programmers don't see a lot of incentives to make
> things accessible, since they're already invested in the status quo,
> and they might lose some personal value if programming stopped being
> an arcane practice?

Totally. That's why we're all still programming in assembly language
and doing our own memory management, because we would lose a lot of
personal value if programming stopped being so difficult. If it
weren't for all these silly new-fangled languages with their automatic
garbage collection and higher order function handling, we would all be
commanding much higher salaries.

ChrisA



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