DDD - Design, Dev, and Data

Back in 2011, HP ditched it’s flagging computer business to focus on software. Then member of the board and co-founder of famed tech investment firm Andreesson-Horowitz, Marc Andreesson reasoned in an article in the Wall Street Journal that software was eating the world. Fast forward to 2018 and his often quoted prediction is looking more and more realistic. As at March 31st, 2018 the top 10 companies in the world by market cap are occupied by 6 who are software focused, with Apple forming a contentious 7th.

Software has now eaten the world.

From utility to usable

As we’ve moved through this software revolution we’ve learned a number of lessons about how to build better software. We’ve renovated the underlying services we build on, moving from owning our own homes to renting the house from others who maintain them for us. We’ve also seen a change in the way software is considered, and consumed.

While the concepts have been present since the 1940’s, over the last 8 years we’ve seen the rise of the designer, or UX specialist as a core part of the software creation process. First through digital agencies and marketing firms, then exploding into business software as we cottoned on to how significant a difference an application designed around human intent could make to the adoption and success rates of our software. This is partly because it has reached more and more people with less technical training, and partly because more sophisticated users have moved from being delighted by great UX to expecting it.

You see, as software has eaten our world - it has become entirely more human.

More human than human

Probably one of the more interesting, and more recent set of developments is just how much more human our interactions are becoming. No longer do we publish our software on punch cards - and despite some hold out core systems, green screens have also largely vanished. These days software exists on devices with all new interfaces - conversations, hand gestures, and in an extreme and yet unproven case, thoughts.

As these interactions bring machines closer and closer to us in terms of how the deliver the intelligence they gain, they also seek to emulate us more and more in how they derive these smarts. Artificial intelligence sits behind a growing portion of the software we write. From chat bots, to self driving cars, back to the personal digital assistants that are becoming more and more pervasive in our homes and pockets. Narrow AI is a growing presence in not only our software, but our lives.

Underneath this AI, is data. No matter which particular task you’re bending the will of the computer to, a set of data informs, teaches, and eventually proofs the knowledge the machine develops. We have sought to capture, store and structure data in all of the business applications we’ve built to date. However the game has changed. The volume at which data is created has exploded, and is forecast to continue at an increasing pace. Don’t believe us? Imagine running the data storage for the Large Hadron Collider - which creates in the order of petabytes of possible information every second.

If energy of a more utilitarian type is more your thing, about 25% percent of the 163ZB (yep, that’s a Z for zetta) of data is expected to come from IoT sources, with Utilities being a strong early adopter. We still have lots to learn when it comes to that kind of volume, both in storage and usage in the context of machine learning.

With AI expected to be in the majority of software created in the near future, it is impossible to ignore.

What has this got to do with DDD Sydney?

DDD Sydney is a community run education event. While we’ve traditionally been entirely focused on bringing together software developers, we feel given the trends playing out in the software world it is time to change. We believe that the more we can cross pollinate the data, design and development communities the more we will each benefit from our collective skills and the better the outcomes will be for us all.

To this end, in 2018 we’ve decided to introduce data and design to our event. It’s not going to be a simple change - these communities are not ones we have deep roots in, but with your help and the help of some of our friends in data and design we hope to bring you a range of fantastic content.

We’re really excited about these changes, but to really bring the awesome we need your help. Every day you’re working with designers and data peeps. We need you to spread the word, and encourage them to submit a session to DDD Sydney.

We hope you enjoy the changes, and we look forward to seeing you at the 2018 event!