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Program or Be Programmed

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Douglas Rushkoff, media theorist and author of Life Inc. discusses his new book, Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age.

Guests:

Douglas Rushkoff
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Comments [17]

baruch

I'd like to suggest shows spotlighting the "open source" / "open software" movements.

Supporters of this movement make their programs' source code available for end-users to read, analyse, modify and extend.

Even for someone who is not a programmer, this can be empowering, in that it allows one to read and (try to) understand what is really happening when they run a program.

My guess is that the most popular "open source" program is the FIREFOX internet web browser, as a replacement (far superior to) Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Nov. 17 2010 03:25 PM
baruch

I'd like to suggest shows spotlighting the "open source" / "open software" movements.

Supporters of this movement make their programs' source code available for end-users to read, analyse, modify and extend.

Even for someone who is not a programmer, this can be empowering, in that it allows one to read and (try to) understand what is really happening when they run a program.

My guess is that the most popular "open source" program is the FIREFOX internet web browser, as a replacement (far superior to) Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Nov. 17 2010 03:24 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Truth & Beauty

Exposing children to the writing of simple programs in Basic, is no different than teaching some poetry, or to draw simple pictures, or some music, et al. It doesn't mean they will become poets, artists or musicians. But it may start the wheels turning in the minds of a few who might decide programming a computer is more interesting for them than writing a poem or composing a simple piece of music. While teaching a little programming does not really teach the complexities of the electronics and software that makes up a computer, it's a beginning for some. Just like teaching a little bit of science.

Nov. 17 2010 01:12 PM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I think that learning programming to understand computers is the equivalent of learning Latin and Greek to understand English. Basic knowledge is generally a prerequiste for more advanced knowledge; we build on what is already known rather than reinventing the wheel.

But you can see how popular Latin and Greek are these days.

There is no longer any such thing as learning for the sake of learning and knowing. Most people learn for the sake of earning the almighty dollar, so our basic skills take a back seat.

I, for one, learn as much as I can about every subject I can - including programming - and I feel that as a result, I can and will survive in situations where less-learned individuals will not be able to compete, and that includes basic computer skills. There is a huge difference between being able to write a letter in Word and being able to diagnose various computer woes, and people call upon me and pay me to do the latter because they can't be bothered to learn the basics.

Nov. 17 2010 12:40 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To John Lamont

The emergence of C++ over other HLL's, such as Fortran, Basic, Pascal,. Ada and such made it close to impossible for a small kid to experiment with programming because of the crypic nature of the language. That is why fewer and fewer people even know what programming is. Except those who already have a natural inclination towards solving puzzles and doing a lot of braintwisting. But not for the average kid who at least would now what programming is if he or she had some hands on experience at a young age as many did back in the late '70s and early '80s.

Nov. 17 2010 12:03 PM

It's the future -- what's next?

Nov. 17 2010 11:58 AM
Douglas Bennett from East Harlem

I certainly agree with the idea of loss of true inter human communication and that we have engrossed ourselves in a virtual world to the extent we put the real world on the back burner sometimes. Some how we have become obsessed with knowing everything about what everyone else is doing or thinking. People find self assurance in the amount of publicity and friendliness they can attain online.

Nov. 17 2010 11:58 AM
Diego

Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded.

Nov. 17 2010 11:58 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Ahmed

There is nothing better to prepare young students for either programming or law, than studying the Talmud. The methodology of studying Talmud is very much like a learning to think like a programmer, and see things from every possibility. It's not coincidental that some of the best lawyers and programmers came from the Jewish community. Centuries of Talmudic study was a great preparation for dealing with complexity.

Nov. 17 2010 11:56 AM
John Lamont from New Jersey

Good Luck! I write in more than a dozen computer languages, and love it, but any time I talk to other people about my passion... ZZZZZ (note Mary's comment).

Nov. 17 2010 11:53 AM
Ahmed

Seriously? The Torah and programming computers?

This thesis is ridiculous. It's absurd to think of all computer users taking 4 years of programming courses so they can program or understand the complex software of today.

Total waste of radio time...

Nov. 17 2010 11:53 AM
Douglas Bennett from East Harlem

Certainly learning or being taught to use the computer to its fullest is ideal but the progress in technology makes it truly unnatttainable to stay completely on top of computer updates. It would be excellent to teach programming however, unless this is the career direction one wants to make learning programming might be a waste of time for a pharmacist or sales man who needs to focus on learning the tools of the trade. Like so many topics Rushkoff seems to be wishing for idealism inside a culture that is way too far set into it's ways. I can't spend time learnig to program since i am busy studying the ins and outs of my niche career in order to achieve my goals.

Nov. 17 2010 11:53 AM
Laura from UWS

Who benefited from de-skilling young people when it comes to computer programming?

Nov. 17 2010 11:52 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Back in the 70s and 80s, there were simple high level programming languages .such as BASIC and LOGO and PASCAL that were not that difficult for a layman and even a small kid to learn. But then the young programming hotshots turned to C++. which is cryptic and hard for non-programmers to start with. And Microsoft got rid of all preinstalled programming languages, because it didn't want anyone to understanding anything, other than to use their programs. Microsoft took away the ability of the young to learn it on their own.

Nov. 17 2010 11:51 AM
Mary

ZZZZZZZZZZ

Nov. 17 2010 11:51 AM
jo from connecticut

In an extreme example, Divya Narendra answered Northwestern University journalist's question about his biggest regret: "...I do wish I had learned how to Web program as a kid. (This would’ve saved me some troubles later in life…). http://www.northbynorthwestern.com/2010/11/97172/divya-narendra-on-being-a-wildcat-the-social-network-and-his-suit-against-facebook/

Nov. 17 2010 11:51 AM
Craig Scharlin from NYC

This is not about today's subject but I've always wanted to tell you how much your book "Nothing Sacred" has meant to me. Just an earth shattering book for me.

Thank you so much.

Craig Scharlin

Nov. 17 2010 11:49 AM

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