Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 27th Dec 2012 10:19 UTC, submitted by anonymous
General Development "Computers are ubiquitous in modern life. They offer us portals to information and entertainment, and they handle the complex tasks needed to keep many facets of modern society running smoothly. Chances are, there is not a single person in Ars' readership whose day-to-day existence doesn't rely on computers in one manner or another. Despite this, very few people know how computers actually do the things that they do. How does one go from what is really nothing more than a collection - a very large collection, mind you - of switches to the things we see powering the modern world?"
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The article is about programming for beginners. You extrapolate that out and 'predict' that within 50 years we will all be programmers even when we aren't computer scientists or IT professionals.

I and others point out that this is a bad prediction. Here's why. You counter with political idealism. You counter with economic pipe-dreams like some Star Trekian utopia where we no longer work jobs or spend money.

Now you bring up a complete non sequitor about some admiral inventing a readable programming language. What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Nothing. It is only relevant to computer programmers and not the average worker in other fields professional white-collar or blue collar drones.

History is not on your side in this argument about computer programming and the masses. The men and women who invented the foundational languages for programming today are dying off. My generation which grew up using these languages in order to use our computers are beginning to exit the workforce. The younger generations are not learning more and more programming languages. They are learning fewer. Only nerds, geeks, and hobbyists are playing with these languages. They aren't being used in fields other than IT and computer science or very rarely.

I am not an IT professional. I do, however, know some programming languages and use them daily in my work and teaching. I have graduate students today who I will inform that if they are serious about doing psychological research it behooves them to learn the R programming language. Is there excitement? Have any them even learned a whit about computer programming like I did? No. The usual response is "Is there an app for that for my iPad?"

This is not going to be changing when computers have evolved to a point where it is all point and click on big shiny pads or small little gadgets with a million and one apps for everything from how many times you picked your nose today to a library for your mp3's. My best friend and I in high school wrote our own fucking library application in Apple Pascal so we could catalog our LP collection.

Sorry, that is the reality outside of OSNews and the IT geek and hobbyist worlds with the current generations.

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