Summary of The Coming Software Apocalypse

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8 Overall

7 Applicability

9 Innovation

8 Style


Almost every aspect of modern life depends on flawless software, but several catastrophic code failures in various industries, including car controls and emergency response systems, have exposed a dated and error-prone development process. In this expansive piece for The Atlantic, writer and programmer James Somers explores the potential for even worse bug-induced disasters and explains how one group of technical leaders is trying to change how developers build software. getAbstract recommends this eye-opener to everyone, but prescribes it especially to programmers.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How critical software has become unwieldy over the course of several decades,
  • Why a new approach to software development is vital to the safety and robustness of future systems, and
  • What researchers are doing now to make software engineering more sustainable.

About the Author

James Somers is a writer, programmer and frequent tech contributor to The Atlantic.



Over the past several decades, software has become a silent but ubiquitous companion to every human endeavor. From automobile controls to emergency response networks, code is hard at work behind the scenes of nearly every human endeavor. But while computer hardware has become more compact and powerful over the years, the software that drives it has grown increasingly complex and difficult to manage. As a result, there are now millions of ways for a given piece of code to fail, and some of those failures can be catastrophic. Recent examples abound, from the Toyota self-acceleration fiasco in the late 2000s to the statewide collapse of Washington’s 9-1-1 system in 2014.

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