program or be programmed, technophobe to digital native

This week the UK has been talking about ICT in education and how internet addiction changes your brain, so it felt timely to mention a book I’ve meant to highlight for a while.

Dougles Rushkoff is famous for his views on new media’s impact on society and his latest book is a great read. I read ‘Program or be Programmed’ last year and found myself agreeing with most of it. It’s about how technology is shaping our lives, rather than our lives shaping technology.

Reflecting on this a year after reading I’m starting to revisit applications for this theory in my day-to-day. This thought stands out:

A part of any digital job should be about inspiring inquisitiveness and experimentation in those who think digital is a “black box” they won’t understand. A “black box” which is dangerous and forbidden to tamper with. In doing this you’re helping people go from programmed to program, from technophobe to digital native.

What do you think? Are you doing this in your role?

2 thoughts on “program or be programmed, technophobe to digital native

  1. Great post.

    I’ve not read Rushkoff’s book, but judging on this year’s uptake on codeyear.com I’d say that this is going to be a bit of a theme for 2012 amongst those in Digital who are feeling a desire to be more connected to the technology they’re surrounded by.

    However (and I’m sure most programmers would agree) the intricacies of syntax and software architecture are surface requirements to becoming a good coder; to code is to have the ability to eloquently speak with the very systems that we put so much faith in, daily.

    It would be unrealistic (and wasteful) to suggest that everyone needs be proficient in at least one programming language – a basic understanding will do, a basic understanding breaks down the barriers erected by those who would mystify programming as a dark art.

    I’d argue that this is especially pertinent when it comes to digital charity work where cost efficiency is (I’d imagine, not working in the field) key.

  2. Thanks for the great addition. I hadn’t seen the codeyear stuff before – looks great.

    If you were to list out the basic digital principles / skills everyone would know – what would they be? Is there already a framework for this? Would love to hear your thoughts!

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