A program for the elderly that I am legitimately excited about and would like to expound on is the idea I had to create a memory game for those with failing memory using important elements from the person’s own life. As I explained in my other post, a person’s memory is an integral part of who they are. When a person loses their memory, especially important personal memories that helped shape and define who they are as a person, the rest of their cognition collapses. It’s sad, but when they forget who they are, their personality changes, and they can’t make sense of situations enough to forge new memories even if they had the ability to. Neurology is still in in its infancy as a science (neurologists are often the first to tell you how little we truly know). But one thing that seems to be agreed upon is that playing memory games is a good way to exercise a person’s brain. Further than just keeping a person’s memory fresh through playing memory games, if those games were centered around important events and loved in ones in a person’s life, it would be doubly beneficial in keeping alive those particular memories that make a person who they are. If this were able to preserve a person’s memory in the way that I’m suggesting, and it could be proven through studies, it would be a truly invaluable technology and people would be lining up to pay for it. This technology would learn as I suggested in my other post through someone’s Facebook browsing habits, and could also be a utility installed on their phone or computer to remember what pictures a person pulls up on their phone the most. That could be a training set to develop a profile of a person’s life, so that they can be quizzed by the program as their memory starts to fail in order to maintain that person’s sense of their life.
The main difficulty with this sort of program would actually be obtaining the training data from services that are as integrated into a person’s life as Facebook is. It’s rumored that Facebook sells user browsing information to private data mining companies for large sums of money, so in pursuing this from an entrepreneurial perspective it may make sense to approach Facebook as some sort of a partnership after a proof of concept has been more or less proven out and some sort of patent obtained so the intellectual property of this idea is not stolen (as I make a public blog post of the idea… :-] ).
Another program idea I have (which is unfortunately just as nebulous as the previous idea) is a replacement for code monkeys. As I look at the IT and software development industry it seems that there is a certain type of “busy work” development that gets off-shored to developers that aren’t quite as good, but it doesn’t matter because the code they are writing is not complex it just needs to perform a basic function. So the requirements for the code fragment may be simple, but still would take a while to actually type out (an example would be a large block of get/set functions in some sort of a data IO component). Software could potentially be installed on these “code monkeys” computers that analyzes the tendencies and commonalities in code fragments that they are writing to produce a program that is able to intake those simple requirements, and output the code that’s needed. It may not be perfect, but in my experience working in the IT industry, heavy code reviews are required on code that is off-shored anyway, so from my perspective as a person who is commissioning that code, it makes no difference to me if a less-than-average developer writes the code, or if a program writes it. It needs to be code reviewed and go through rigorous QA either way. This idea could be implemented as a transitionary plan for some of these off-shore code companies, where they put the code on their employees’ computers without telling them, and eventually automate the bulk of their workforce. It’s a bit of a dark idea, to be automating many humans out of jobs, but even the most empathetic person could not deny the cost savings of what I am proposing, given that the plan works.