In a prior blog post I mentioned a statement Barack Obama made in an interview with Wired magazine related to artificial intelligence. (yes, the president of the United States discussing artificial intelligence) The president made the following statement about self-driving cars:
"There are gonna be a bunch of choices that you have to make, the classic problem being: If the car is driving, you can swerve to avoid hitting a pedestrian, but then you might hit a wall and kill yourself. It's a moral decision, and who's setting up those rules?"
This statement which relates to self-driving cars points out two things that accounting professionals and other business professionals need to consider when thinking about XBRL-based digital financial reports:
- WHO: who writes the rules, the logic, which software follows,
- HOW: how do you write those rules and put them into machine-readable form and get all this to work reliably?
Think about that statement. Who writes the rules that makes software go? How, exactly, do you make the software work reliably, predictably, safely?
Computers are machines. In the past, machines were mechanical and worked using hardware. Gears, levers, etc. The gears, levers and other hardware were logically linked together. Computers are really not that different from other machines except for one thing. Software.
What software means is that you can adjust how the machine works dynamically by flipping bits.
But you still need to have logical and well reasoned software to flip those bits and get the computer application to work the way you want it to work. If you have standard problem solving logic, such as ISO/IEC standard Common Logic, then software will be interoperable with other software. No magic. Deliberate, conscious, skillful execution is what makes this work. That is the HOW.
This is what problem solving logic is all about. I explained my understanding of all this in a document, Comprehensive Introduction to the Notion of Problem Solving Logic for Professional Accountants. Check the document out and learn a few skills that help you thrive in the digital age.