Why I stopped learning to code.

or, How I learned to stop worrying and study piano.

For a few years. I have to say, quite a few years. Many years. I tinkered with coding. I’ve invested many moments of my life to coding. I like coding.

I used to like coding.

I liked coding when it seemed to make sense. But I’ve since, in the last year, come to stop believing in coding as a valuable use of my time. Ultimately I believe this is mainly due to the rise of artificial intelligence, but at a more practical level I dislike the current practices of coding: Coding starts out as pleasant architecture, but ends in pain-staking restoration. And the churning cogs of dependency and deprecation are exercises in futility.

Over the past year artificial intelligence has “blown up”. It has become the only game in town. And for good and sensible reasons. My favourite quote about it is “it’s the last invention humans will ever make”. This, I think, conveys some idea of its weight in the balance of human history.

Artificial intelligence is not going away. And artificial intelligence has changed coding. I wrote before that, in my opinion, procedural programming is a dead-man walking. update, found this: http://sourced.tech

A.I. is forcing us to consider what we will do when machines take over much of the labour required by our society, leaving many people with more free time. I find it fitting that the original meaning of the word “school” in Greek: σχολή (scholē) was synonymous with “leisure”.

So, will we all go back to “School”? I wrote another post reflecting on whether I should study Machine-learning.

I shouldn’t study machine learning (note to self).

Why? Because I don’t need to. Artificial Intelligence is coming, it doesn’t need my help. What is also coming, but maybe *does* need some help, is simple humanity: Human culture. What is it to be human, that makes us human? A computer can crunch numbers (and jobs), but can it appreciate art? Can it appreciate conversation? Can it enjoy reading a book? What type of music does it like? Can it be bored? What is ennui, does it “compute”?

Coming face-to-face with artificial intelligence and robots is to come face-to-face with ourselves: like a mirror, a mirror has no opinion other than to stare back.

I’ve decided to give up coding and to return to “school” already (even before my labour is taken away), and I’ve decided it will be more human subject matter: words, music and art. I’ve ticked off quite a few items on my life bucket list already, next: writing a novel and learning to play the piano.

I feel better already.