Pp. 143-149 in Future Programming, vol. 2. Maidenhead, England: Infotech State of the Art Report, 1978.


The levels of programming of present-day computers and software are first described. The tendency is that user programming is done at progressively higher levels. Some problems of high-level programming include: inflexibility towards unforeseen changes of requirements and freezing of early, inappropriate language designs. Special difficulties or problems of human enterprises are the continual changes of the underlying rules of procedure, the need to establish such rules where they normally do not exist, and the need to cater for large numbers of contingencies. In the use of computers for optimizing the operation of an enterprise the establishment of an appropriate model is a central difficulty. In conclusion it is suggested that a phase of diminishing returns of computer uses in enterprises may have been reached.