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3. The Future > Unforeseeable Consequences

Unforeseeable Consequences

So, when we design software, the future should be our primary focus. However, one of the most important things to know about any kind of engineering is this:

  • There are some things about the future that you do not know.

In fact, when it comes to software design, you just can’t know most things about the future.

  • The most common and disastrous error that programmers make is predicting something about the future when in fact they cannot know.

For example, imagine that a programmer wrote a piece of software in 1985 that fixed broken floppy disks. It couldn’t fix anything else—every single piece of it was totally dependent upon exactly how floppy disks worked. That software would now be obsolete, because people no longer use floppy disks. That programmer predicted “people will always use floppy disks”—something he could not actually know.


  

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