Engineering Has Been Eating the World Long Before Software


Engineering Has Been Eating the World Long Before Software

By Pahazzard - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

1/ The idea that software is eating the world is now well known. What is probably less known is that before software could eat the world, engineering needed to pre-digest it. And that has been happening for a much longer time.

2/ Over the last many decades, every profession was being “systematized” and engineered. Every profession was being converted into a set of systems, processes, models, and so on. 

3/ Everything started involving measurement, analysis, iterative improvement, and testing. These were things that were typically associated with engineering, but they permeated every sphere of human activity.

4/ Even professions that were typically considered to be far from engineering, such as art, music, creative writing, leadership, fashion, teaching, even spiritual services were being converted into systems. 

5/ The customers or beneficiaries of every profession, which may be individual people, organizations, or even the whole environment, were being modeled, analyzed, and simulated.

6/ The demand for STEM courses and jobs kept increasing. But if you look carefully, it was the “E” that was driving most of the demand. 

7/ Terms like social engineering, lifehacking / organization hacking, quantified self, bioengineering, geoengineering, iterative improvement, bugs, hacks, schedules, tasklists, etc. have been infiltrating into the discourse.

8/ What all this points to is that “software eating the world” isn’t some radically new phenomenon. “Engineering eating the world” was already in progress for a long time and software is just the next step in that direction. So relax, (but buckle up).

(Corresponding tweetstorm)