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Updated A UK company reckons it's on the way to making programmers a thing of the past by reducing complex coding to a mix is a simple list of instructions and some powerful AI.
Synapse Solutions this week took the wraps off MI-Tech, software that essentially lets you enter in English a series of steps you want your computer to do - from which it will build a fully functioning application.
According to Synapse's Bob Brennan, MI-Tech uses a series of rules to figure out what the user is telling the computer to do. From that it creates program code it can then assemble into executable machine code.
Quoted in this week's New Scientist magazine, Brennan claims MI-Tech can create an application from "three pages of monologue" in less time than it would take to code the app using a compiler and conventional programming language.
How well it actually works remains to be seen. Try and describe in English something as simple as a calculator app, and it seems simple enough. Try and describe it with a graphical user interface where you've got to handle visual input and output, and a once simple app becomes suddenly more complex.
That said, MI-Tech doesn't sound radically different from Visual Basic, so you never know.
Whatever, Synapse believes MI-Tech can be used to give any non-programmer the ability to create their own applications, something that harks back to the glory days of 8-bit home computing in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Fortunately, MI-Tech saves you the trouble of learning BASIC.
Synapse isn't giving away any hints about how MI-Tech works until it has not only patented the technology but licensed it to software companies. It reckons the latter is just a year and a half away.
Of course, at that point, you can use MI-Tech to create a new MI-Tech to create a new... and so on. Soon it will be running things and recoding itself and evolving... and then... maybe... taking over...
Kevin Warwick is going to have a field day. ®
Interested readers might care to visit this site, which contains a transcript of a Personal Computer World penned all the way back in 1981 when the mag was still worth reading. 'Uncle' David Tebbutt (where are they now?) takes a look at a remarkably MI-Tech sort of program called The Last One, also of British origin. Are they by any chance related?
Thanks to readers Gavin Andrews and Adrian Brooks for the pointer to The Last One, and the link, respectively
New Scientist: Your wish is my machine code