Visual Programming (non-technical programming) replaced by NLP programming

The concept of non-technical users using visual programming to create technology/software for non-technical users is an old one.  As a software developer, I've always thought this would be cool and helpful for people.  The first program I remember of any significance that was really used was ToolBook from the early 1990’s.  ToolBook “kind of” used graphically laid out processes along with painful dialogs to create a flowchart of sorts to allow people to define screens and interaction. The problem with ToolBook and other visual programs like it was the complexity for the creator and for the user.  Aside from being early in the GUI Window era, the 2D screens were and are still today limited on how much information you can place on them before it becomes confusing. As the problems get more complex a non-technical person's ability to grasp it, because of the limited screen real estate, is overwhelming.


The interface was not cooperative because it was a one-way interface. Much like our interfaces today, the creator would have to probe around trying to construct their solution using menu/tree controls/comboboxes etc... It's hard enough for a lot of people just using Excel or Word in the 2D interface world.


Natural langue processing (NLP) will change “non-technical programming” in two main ways.  First, and more importantly, is the solution the creator wants to provide to the end-user can use natural language. This means the creator is not limited to only dialog screens and other arcane methods to interact with the end-user. This is really BIG. There are many solutions where no user interface will be required if the process could occur in language alone. The painful process of laying out dialog screens, collecting data etc. may not even be needed.


The second way NLP will change “non-technical programming” is the creator interacting with the system to create the solution using language as well. They will be able to develop their solution interacting with a program or device via voice only. There are many scenarios where this would be great today.  Many automated phone systems and their questions/branching based on input could be done by creators using only voice.   


Obviously, there will be a need for some screens/data in places but those can be created using language and simple layout tools. In many cases that would be the exception. As with anything, having the ability for more people to be creators will create more solutions and more features for more end users.  Some of the solutions will be complicated and at some point, programmers or creators with skills in logic, code, will be needed.


There probably already is, but if there isn't, there will be new programming languages, “logic” or flowchart type concepts that will be done with natural language. I can imagine simple bullet point like instructions with some IF-THEN-ELSE constructs but in normal language. For thousands of years, humans didn't have computers and had to pass along information of a flowchart nature to other people with language only. There will be a natural way to do this. I find it very exciting.



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