Computational Thinking : A tool to understand the new society

“Computational thinking is a fundamental skill for everyone, not just for computer scientists. Computational thinking involves solving problems, projecting systems, and understanding human behavior by extracting key concepts from computer science. Computational thinking includes a series of mental tools that reflect the broad of the field of computer science.” Jeannette Wing

It is difficult to think that major computing structures can help us solve day-to-day problems, algorithms and humans have to deal with difficult issues, and implicitly today we think algorithms are larger than humans. We should think about is the useful lessons that people and algorithms can offer each other. And the more I study, reflect and talk about these subjects, but the importance of developing computational thinking becomes clear. Moving across the realms of science, computing, mathematics I believe we need the algorithms to live better.

The concept of algorithm has existed for centuries and its use can be attributed to several Greek philosophers but only in 1936 that was formalized through the Turing machine invented by Alan Turing. The Turing machine was the theoretical model that would later be responsible for realizing the concept of algorithms and more advanced concepts such as AI. Alan Turing is considered the father of computer science for his achievements.

In 1950 in his article titled “Computing Machinery and Intelligence” he introduced the Turing Test that tested whether a machine could or would not think. In one of his essays, Turing said, “I believe that by the end of the century the use of the word and generally polite opinion will have changed so much that one will be able to speak of thinking machines without being contradicted.”

Almost 90 years later we are living through profound changes, we are dealing with something that we do not quite know what it is. According to Christian Dunker in the interview that gave the notebook between the data, the generation of 1995 are the first generation created in this universe of digital natives. That is decisive, as was the first generation that dealt with fire. But no generation can actually master the algorithms. We are living the age of the algorithms without understanding very well how it works.

And how can the development of computational thinking help us to understand the impact of this age on society? Computational thinking involves solving problems, designing systems, and understanding behavior, drawing on fundamental concepts in computer science. Computational thinking includes a range of mental tools that reflect the breadth of the field of computer science.

Characteristics of computational thinking:

Decomposition: decomposing data, processes, or problems into smaller, manageable parts

Pattern Recognition: Observing patterns, trends and regularities in data

Abstraction: Identifying the general principles that generate these standards

Algorithm Design: Developing step-by-step instructions to solve this and other similar problems

We live the culmination of access to information and misinformation in Brazil. We live in fake news and fight against democracy. A real mess. We’re getting carried away by our algorithmic bubbles. We are not deciding anything.

I defend here an informative education based on the development of computational thinking for all! A message for young people: We are hostage to the technology that “taught us to speak.”

I end this text with some questions: Are we making decisions based on reliable information? Are we being driven by algorithms or by our actions?

Author : Ana Carolina da Hora — Olabi