Programming: The New Literacy



Power will soon belong to those who can master a variety of expressive human-machine interactions.

"As the century goes on, those who don't program -- who can't bend their increasingly sophisticated computers, machines, cars, and homes to their wills and needs -- will, I predict, be increasingly left behind. Parents and teachers often disrespect today's young people for being less than literate in the old reading-and-writing sense. But in turn, these young citizens of the future have no respect for adults who can't program a DVD player, a mobile phone, a computer, or anything else. Today's kids already see their parents and teachers as the illiterate ones."

Interesting, but on a theoretical level I find it deeply disturbing.

This posits a false (and dangerous) antinomy in attempting to situate modes of literacy in the language of parallax.

"Classical" and "twenty-first-century" literacy are not mutually exclusive. If that were the case we would have given up on art a long time ago.

I don’t think this is putting a value ordering on ‘modern’ vs 'classical’ literacy, just highlighting the importance of technical literacy in and of itself, and capturing the very real feeling the techno-savvy have when observing those who are not.

Of course, I also believe that we can’t forge ahead without universally raising the usability-bar. If for nothing else, I’ve enjoyed web 2.0’s effect of having highlighted, for this generation, the importance of easy, understandable systems.