Why you should consider learning how to code
We now live in a post industrial society, on our way to an informational society. We’re lucky enough to witness this shift, to witness the creation of the tools that will govern the society of the future. Technology isn’t just technology anymore — it’s in Everything you do. Be it commuting to work, booking a holiday, making plans to meet your friends, buying a book, even finding a date.
The more I talk to what I consider ‘normal’, ‘regular’ people, the more they seem to struggle with the most basic technology. All the while, technology morphs at a blindingly telescopic pace. Forget bitcoin or blockchain, I’ve seen a lot of eyes glaze over trying to understand how the most basic websites work, or how to avoid having their identity stolen online.
In Douglas Rushkoff’s Program or be programmed (published in 2010, maybe a bit ahead of its time), the author argues that if you don’t control and direct technology — you’re leaving the doors open to the technology to control you. If you don’t know what the algorithm is doing, then it becomes a black box, directing you in ways that is out of your choice.
I recently read Neal Stephenson’s dystopian book Snow Crash, which imagines a techno-elite class of programmers who are the architects of their world and quasi-celebrities all the same.
As society transforms all around you under the influence of technology, it might not be a bad idea to draw back the curtain a bit and take a peek at the engines that have the potential to influence the fabric of society and how we relate to each other. Be it surveillance, security, or just simply understanding the biases of a platform.
The medium is the message, and learning more about the medium can never be a bad thing.