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The Future of Society in the Face of AI
The Need for Mass Coding Literacy
By Cassandra Kosmayer Posted in Investigations on March 6, 2019 0 Comments 4 min read
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The Future of Society in the Face of AI

We are no longer on the dawn of an era when technology pervades our lives; it’s our everyday reality. New technologies emerge daily allowing more and more processes to be automated – for our convenience; for consumption; for a piece of the worldwide market share. Technology, computers, even the WWW, have become essential to our daily lives, from social to work-related needs. Computers are integral, and yet, so few people know how they work.

In the dawn of easy-to-use software that ensures user-friendly interfaces and little training requirements, it almost seems trivial to know how the software was made, and yet it is this very knowledge is crucial for future (and even current) generations.

Future Outlook on Computing Literacy

EurActive and Microsoft claim that 90% of jobs worldwide today require basic ICT skills, and estimate that, by 2020, Europe alone will have a shortage of over 800,000 workers in the sector.In the United States, students who are interested in computer programming are rare. In 2012 only 14,517 from the entire high-school population of the United States of America took the course.

In our ecosystem, computer programming is the language of the future, and the global population is woefully illiterate.
This illiteracy will cause a new divide in social classes, just as it did for the generations before us. What’s more, we are on the brink where artificial intelligence (AI) is not a matter of if, but a matter of when. If computer science isn’t taught within the core curriculum from primary school onwards, like mathematics and English are, future generations risk being divided between the literate and illiterate.

The Issue of Coding Illiteracy

Technology has rapidly changed in a very short period of time. It has not only changed the way we live, it has changed the way we think. We as a global society have quickly learned and adapted to using technology to its full advantage.

Of this global population, however, how many truly understand the processes that are involved when creating the software that they are using? To how many people is software a movie-magic ordeal of gibberish, not meant to be comprehended, but impressive nonetheless?

Without understanding how coding works, people are subjected by the man behind the curtain.

The Need for Computer Science to Be Taught Throughout Education

Studies into the benefits of children learning computer programming have been around for decades (Pea and Kurland, 1984). The previous emphasis and overall goal when teaching computer science to children, however, wasn’t to teach coding as a skill, but because of a widespread belief that it improved and produced instantly transferable cognitive skills.

While studies have dismissed this idea of how coding can promote cross-skills as a myth, they did determine that preschool aged children could, indeed, learn and understand programming.

By introducing children to the concept of programming from a young age they benefit from:

  • Significantly reduced computer anxiety (Dyck and Smither 1994, Chang 2004)
  • Improved proficiency of coding at higher levels

academic artificial intelligence investigation

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