In my DAC interview with Wally, (a name you can use in EDA like Oprah, Sting, Madonna), one of the things we discussed was how the technologies his tools are giving the power to develop, could ultimately be used in ways that could, well for a lack of a better word, (adding dramatic effect)…destroy the world as we know it. You will hear more of his thoughts when I finish writing my interview, but I thought this would be a good precursor to play with and it’s an issue I think about a lot; I’m betting many of you do as well. I will address Wally’s thoughts when I write the column, but for now here are mine.
Like me, many of you love science fiction, especially when it deals with the future. I cannot help but think, when watching the beautiful Halle Berry in the science fiction series Extant, how many of you out there are in some way embarking on a path that will make parts of that show… a more automated future…a reality. More so, I cannot help but wonder how many development engineers will be visionary enough to see into the future they are helping create, and ensure that the right path is taken, as we move Moore’s Law forward and increase the role of technology in our future. You see, all of you engineers are creating tiny pixels of a much bigger picture and you rarely get to see the end product or even the implications of what you are allowing to be developed. I do suspect however, that a few of you do realize, and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
Engineering jobs, especially for computer and electrical engineers, have so many faces and complexities. So often many of you are partaking in a limited role of a much bigger project, which you know little about. Analogous to a good script with a far off plot, the actors read their lines never knowing what the writer’s, developers are actually planning. I cannot help but wonder how that similarity might play into the world we live in, how what we are developing today will be played out in tomorrow’s scripts.
The subject of jobs is at play here, as all of you are for hire and many of you may one day be faced with a decision that makes you ponder your future or the implications of your development. Money is a powerful tool that convinces people to do things that might not always be on the up-and-up…after all, what is a hacker but someone who took a different programming career path than most of you. How many of you would change your path if the money were right? How many would stand up to something they thought could spell trouble one day, especially if the money was right?
We know that the vast majority of development is done with good and right intentions, but money is a very powerful motivator and makes it easy to justify what might otherwise be questionable. If you think about it, so much of what we read in a book or watch on a screen eventually does come to life. My mom looks at the highways being built today and says that she saw those types of interchange structures in books when she was a kid; she’s 93. She said Ralph Belemey wrote a book in the late 1800s about how one day we would turn on a light by touching a wall. The future is built on creative imagination. Creative imagination and brilliant programming are a powerful combination. Which of you will see the possibilities of your brilliance being used for measures that might not be in the best interest of our futureand stand up and say “No”? How do we maintain an ethical use so that HAL (2001: A Space Odyssey) does not take control of this ship? How do we prevent a Darth Vader-esque future, and is that idea so radically crazy? Can we not see a future world of good and bad automated machines? After all, look at how things are shaping up around the world. How might those factions look in the future as technology further permeates our existence? Are some of you working right now on what might very well lead the way to those possibilities? Will money lead you to do things you can see having negative future potential?
Sorry for the tangent, but I think about where we are going and how the good will be used by the bad. It has me thinking, and dare I say, mildly concerned about where this might all lead, and what control we have to shape it and secure it for good. Just look at the hackers stealing… that is all technology that we are developing right now. Is controlling power grids, air traffic, banks, defense, etc. not a real possibility? I wonder, which of you will be the ones that protect us and ensure it is not…Wally?????
As for what to expect for Q3…I feel like it will be another robust quarter and hiring will remain strong. Here is what I do know. It continues to get harder and harder to find the right fit for the overly-exact specifications that exist today. People are not leaving quite as fast as in years past and that makes it harder to recruit them out; harder but not impossible. Comps seem to have gone up, though I cannot say by how much, but that shows the market is strong. Now back to my very long interview with Wally that I must finish before he writes a program to destroy me. See you at ARM, end of October.