A BlueYard Conversation: The Future of Software Development

Join us on the 27th & 28th of June in Reykjavik

BlueYard Capital
5 min readMay 1, 2018

In the software industry, we talk a lot about what software we will build in the future. Collectively, however, we do relatively little thinking about how we will create that software. Progress has been incremental, and many of today’s cutting edge development tools and practices stem from work done decades ago.

We see a number of advances coming that will fundamentally change the way we create software in the future, but none of us have the complete picture. Blockchains and decentralized & encrypted computing, the ubiquity of open source and the rise of “big code”, platforms as a service, the democratization of machine learning, quantum computing emerging on the horizon and changing philosophies about our various fields are just some of the areas we want to explore.

We’re sure that there are people doing research, building tools and companies, and figuring out the future in ways that we’ve never conceived of, and that will result in dramatically better ways of doing software development. This should have a profound impact as to what kind of applications will be possible going forward, with hard to imagine effects on markets and societies.

Join us in Reykjavik

We are therefore excited to be teaming up with the BlueYard family of companies and friends for our next BlueYard Conversation “The Future of Software Development” on June 27th — 28th in Reykjavik, hosted by Chad Fowler and Ben Scofield. We will be covering the future possibilities and responsibilities of software development, and exploring areas such as the future of user interfaces, changing patterns of collaboration on code, the emerging decentralized web stack, the impact of “Big Code” and AI, and preparing for a quantum-technology future.

Early confirmed attendees include the founders, CEOs and key executives from software development startups, practitioners, researchers, and investors. Companies attending range from large technology platforms (e.g. GitHub, google, Microsoft) to startups working on new frontiers for software development (e.g. Protocol Labs, Zeppelin, StdLib). We’ll be kicking off at 17:00 on Wednesday 27th June with a brief introduction and short talks to set the stage, and a chance to get to know fellow participants. Then we’ll continue with a day of talks and open discussions on Thursday 28th June, closing with dinner and drinks. We’ll be releasing more details to the attendants in the weeks running up to the event — but you will find an early outline of the agenda at the bottom of this post.

As always, attendance will be invite-only and limited to 75 people to ensure we have high quality interactions.

We have 20 tickets reserved for startups and entrepreneurs working in the space, that we have not yet identified:if you are interested in attending please send us an application and tell us why you should be a part of this conversation.

Day 1: Evening 27th

Welcome & reflecting where we are: the history of programming, future possibilities and responsibilities
The FOSD summit is meant to get people thinking and talking about what software development could look like over the next decade. So to kick things off we’ll have short talks the night before about how we got to where we are now, on some of the possibilities that lay ahead (including software beyond the industrial programming model), and about why the increasing importance of ethics going forward.

Day 2: Fully Day & Evening 28th

Programming for the future of user interfaces: beyond the screen
What user interfaces will we be building in the future, and what interfaces will we be using to build? We’ve seen the rise of gesture and voice recently, but what are the next steps? And will developers be tied to a keyboard and trackpad or mouse forever?

Who, where and when: changing patterns on collaborating on code
Who is building software a decade from now? Distributed teams are becoming more common, and open source has shown how widely separated people can contribute to great software, but can that be taken even farther? Could this change employment patterns, and what should we watch for if it does? Can we meaningfully expand programming beyond the professional class (with the “everyone should learn to code” movement)?

Systems management and runtime: what will a “computer” be, where does software run
What possibilities lay beyond microservices and FAAS? What new platforms will arise to lead us further from the single application model, or will we eventually hear people saying, “I want my monolith back!” How do hosting options change over time to support these platforms? How do we operate complex, interdependent software in a humane way?

Programming for decentralization: what is the emerging decentralized web stack?
Are we on a path to a few core chains that are both highly scalable and programmable — or will the decentralized web be a complex patchwork of many core chains, cross-chain networks, off-chain scalability solutions and horizontal programming platforms? How do we overcome today’s core challenges around UI/UX, scalability and security?

When computers program themselves — the impact of “big code” & AI
Data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence have the potential to affect every topic on the agenda, but what can we say at a high level? What lessons can we draw from platforms like GitHub and Bitbucket, which reveal information about how people code at a level never seen before? How can we get our computers to do the work that we do today?

New frontiers for writing and maintaining code
What tools, languages, and frameworks will we be using to build software in the next decade? Are any of them radical breaks with what we use today? Where should we be looking to break away from our current incremental improvements — to technology, or to practices?

Wrap-up & a quantum outlook
FOSD may be ending, but we want to encourage everyone to carry on the conversation, so here are a few questions to close with: what can we do today to make the best ideas we’ve heard and discussed reality? What haven’t we talked about that we should have? What sorts of effects would dramatic changes at the hardware level (say, the emergence of quantum computing) have on the topics we’ve looked at?

Drinks & Dinner

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