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I'll ask you all to be optimistic for a moment here:

What other type of electronic gets better over time other than the computer? And I mean measurably better, by leaps and bounds. What other thing is like that other than the human?

And I don't mean better over iterations or version of the physical thing. I'm talking a single individual manufactured item. Eg: A single PinePhone.

@brandon I mean, print manufacturing tools like the linotype machine was a huge jump

@synthgal Yeah but the thing is no one individual tool really got better over time. Like, I make a print machine, from the time I'm finished making that one, it'll degrade until it purely doesn't work.

Software in a phone doesn't necessarily follow that same curve

@brandon oh you meant the individual object not the type of object, I misunderstood

@brandon Lasers. Lasers have gotten significantly more efficient, powerful, and precise. Among other things, it's enabling new avenues of fusion energy research that weren't feasible decades ago.

@unicornfarts Yes but when you create a laser, beyond slowly increasing the power you put through it, any individual laser will just continue to degrade

@brandon I suppose anything with "software" that can be upgraded.

Software in quotes because I guess things like organizations can get better over time as they develop structure and streamline processes.

Even something like a car can get better over time depending on where you land on the ship of Theseus paradox ⛵

@brandon I think the crucial bit is that youre thinking of software as an item. The physical object of a pinephone will, like all objects, degrade over time. Software is more like information, and every time you "improve" it, what youre really doing is replacing it. By that premise, pretty much all information-based "objects" have the potential to get better over time as people iterate and modify them: stories, recipes, philosophies, methodologies, relationships, etc.

@brandon Oh, i just noticed the qualifier that youre looking specifically for electronic objects. While a lot of my examples can be represented electronically, they arent really tied to any particular electronic medium.
On the other hand, while software does generally get better in the short run, id say the vast majority of it degrades in the long run, just like physical objects do. Even with the most rigorous maintainence, there's just not much you can do to overcome legacy bloat.

@jaxter184 So you’re describing software as I am object that is iterate it over, and each release is not necessarily the betterment of the original object, but an entirely new one?

@brandon I wouldnt usually describe software as an object, but i could see an expanded definition of the term "object" that does include software, and in that case, any change to the software is the equivalent of replacing a physical object. I guess im taking the ship of Theseus to the extreme, but updating software is literally replacing old binaries with new ones.

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