Why Software Drives Us Crazy

Michael Bolton, DevelopSense

Some people insist that machines will replace humans in many different ways; others disagree, but without explaining why. You could say a smartphone app replaces an admin assistant by managing your schedule. However, to make the app work, you must modify your usual behavior by providing input in a formal, explicit way, and then interpreting and correcting its output to make up for the app's inflexibility. But storing, transforming, and displaying data are only part of the picture. Truly managing your schedule means making decisions about values, politics, and social concerns, and that requires tacit knowledge internal to you and not easily transmitted to machines. Michael Bolton describes how great testing depends not only on requirements but also on people's ideas, experience, and social interplay. Machines may accelerate or extend some human actions, but machines do not have access to people's tacit knowledge. And without that, important things get lost. Michael describes the implications for testing—and for the products that drive us crazy.

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