TOO BRAINY FOR MY COMPUTER: HOW PROGRAMMING WILL BECOME THE NEXT MAINSTREAM COMPUTER-USER EVOLUTION

From The Unlimited Mind Blog (owned by Dr Tara Swart)

When Tara offered me the opportunity to write a post about my vision on the impact of computer programming on our societies, I found the idea extremely exciting as I always believed coding will be the next mainstream computer user evolution.

Before we start, a word on coding. For the uninitiated it is simply the way we tell computers what to do. It enables us to write software, apps and websites in a language that the computer can interpret.

In my young professional career as a scientist, I have been using coding daily to develop simulations. Still, I have been using my software programming skills for much more than that. Code helps me make the better of my day and be efficient at processing and analyzing data, as well as editing and organizing my notes, reports and presentations. Code helps me lean my busy days, recurrent tasks are automatized and streamlined in short snippets of code, leaving me more brain time and energy to focus and develop my creativity on the important matters.

Nearly 80 % of the U.S. households own a computer (US census 2013). What was first reserved for an elite of knowledgeable scientists and engineers is now widely available through the advents of the personal computer and the Internet. User-friendly software interfaces have made the basic use of a computer attractive and intuitive. Computers have also become essential in all economic activities. It may be time to exploit the full potential that computers have to offer by enabling everyone to become power users. We are now able to go to an ‘App Market place’ online where solutions that are both task specific and tailor made can be found. It will soon become economically attractive for a company to develop its own need driven software tools in order to streamline its activity and lean its work organization. My experience feedback as a programmer has made me realize what people could gain using advanced software technologies. Becoming familiar with code and software development could be an eye opener for the next mainstream computer user evolution!

Coding would help entrepreneurs and business executives in having an insider critical look into the technology that shapes our society. People in business would be in the driver seat of technology development, develop new ideas and critical insight on what are the coming technology trends and spot blossoming visionary people. Introducing code and computer technology in business school will help take away the sacred aura surrounding these disciplines and give students a unique angle to approach our future needs and innovation solutions. This will enable and impact students’ innovation and creativity in developing technology business.

I recently read an exciting post in line with my vision, written by Fabien Fieschi, Consul General of France in Boston. Fabien describes what he envisions for his profession, with new software capabilities soon able to automatize some Diplomat’s tasks such as creating a summary of a theme from any database or internet. Fabien sees this evolution as an opportunity for Diplomats to have more “available brain time” to do what computers cannot accomplish: human contact, empathy or in-depth understanding of culture and feelings of others.

On a broader note, I believe learning code could be beneficial to promote gender equality and to boost brain fitness. As a female programmer, I want to convey that anyone, men or women, can learn to code and break the stereotypes about who can understand computers and code. The computer technology ecosystem is more than ever looking for talents, offering the opportunity for women to contribute to this thriving economy! In relation to brain exercise, it has been recently identified on functional MRI that the brain regions stimulated when programmers are comprehending lines of code, are those of language processing, working memory, and attention so this could be a great way to improve neuroplasticity in your brain.

Along those lines, Tara and I believe that by combining our vision and expertise we could take advantage even more of coding and brain plasticity toward improving leadership performance. Indeed, writing and designing code could help people to articulate their thoughts, develop their logical reasoning and open their mind. Very exciting opportunities lie ahead for anyone wishing to understand a little bit of code, and I will strive to convince as many people as possible to embrace my vision!