Life began with direct coding on bare, carbon-chemistry hardware, like amino acids and proteins. Higher programming languages, like DNA and RNA, evolved gradually. Computers began in a similar fashion, with programmers coding on to the bare machinery of their circuits. Higher programming languages have followed, each generation more powerful than the last.

There is, of course, one big difference between biological and machine evolution. It took life billions of years to evolve the information-processing skills that lie behind the evolution of the human brain. Computers have made giant strides in half a century.

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A few years ago I was trying to determine what cocktails I could make with the alcohol I had at home. I searched the App Store but couldn't find an app that would let me do that, so I built one.


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