Programming Pioneer Grady Booch on Functional Programming, Web3, and Conscious Machines – Slashdot

InfoWorld interviews Grady Booch, chief scientist for software engineering at IBM Research (who is also a pioneer in design patterns, agile methods, and one of the creators of UML).

Here’s some of the highlights:

Q: Let me begin by asking something “of the moment.” There has been an almost cultural war between object-oriented programming and functional programming. What is your take on this?

Booch: I had the opportunity to conduct an oral history with John Backus — one of the pioneers of functional programming — in 2006 on behalf of the Computer History Museum. I asked John why functional programming didn’t enter the mainstream, and his answer was perfect: “Functional programming makes it easy to do hard things” he said, “but functional programming makes it very difficult to do easy things….”

Q: Would you talk a bit about cryptography and Web3?

Booch: Web3 is a flaming pile of feces orbiting a giant dripping hairball. Cryptocurrencies — ones not backed by the full faith and credit of stable nation states — have only a few meaningful use cases, particularly if you are a corrupt dictator of a nation with a broken economic system, or a fraud and scammer who wants to grow their wealth at the expense of greater fools. I was one of the original signatories of a letter to Congress in 2022 for a very good reason: these technologies are inherently dangerous, they are architecturally flawed, and they introduce an attack surface that threatens economies….

Q: What do you make of transhumanism?

Booch: It’s a nice word that has little utility for me other than as something people use to sell books and to write clickbait articles….

Q: Do you think we’ll ever see conscious machines? Or, perhaps, something that compels us to accept them as such?

Booch: My experience tells me that the mind is computable. Hence, yes, I have reason to believe that we will see synthetic minds. But not in my lifetime; or yours; or your children; or your children’s children. Remember, also, that this will likely happen incrementally, not with a bang, and as such, we will co-evolve with these new species.

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