The human body as a development platform – BuzzConf



In the 1960s as ARPAnet grew into the Internet, and mainframes took up whole levels of buildings, the development platform was ‘mainframe’. Code was tested on punchcards and literal bugs were removed from the system. In the 1980s with the advent of microprocessors, the development platform moved to the PC. In the web age of the 90s and 00s, the platform became the web. In the 2010s the platform moved to mobile – smartphones, tablets. Now, we are seeing the emergence of wearables and nearables, connected in the cloud.

But what is around the corner?

Implantables. The next development platform is the human body.

This raises some unique challenges. There are no development environments. You *are* the development environment. If the code has a bug, it won’t just cause a race condition, it might cause your heart to race.

As an ethical computer scientist, I have a moral and ethical responsibility to make sure my code does no harm. This means strong testing, good UX research, and appropriate support mechanisms. It means having tried and tested development guidelines and practices, and coding standard to adhere to – so that we know what ‘best practice’ looks like.