November 2, 2013 at 8:03 PM
Maybe you’ve heard of the “digital divide.”
It’s a term coined in the ’90s to refer to the mostly socioeconomic gap between people who can access information technologies and those who can’t. The concept gave thinkers and policymakers a grasp on a new problem: For more people to prosper, the digital divide would need to be closed.
I’ve been thinking about digital divides a lot lately, but rarely in this traditional sense. Tech has come a long way in 20 years, and it’s raised all kinds of sticky new issues. It’s made me think: If we take a fresh look at what divides us in our use of tech, we might get a better grip on whether we’re headed somewhere we want to be.
So here goes: I think there are four digital divides that matter. As we consider them, ask yourself: Where am i on these divides? And do they all demand to be resolved, or in some ways, protected?
August 31, 2013 at 8:07 PM
“Fill in the blank with the biggest thing you feel is true,” I asked Hadi Partovi, reading off my notebook in a small downtown conference room. “ ‘Learning how to code is as important as learning … ’”
Partovi put his head in his hands and thought for a long moment.
“I would say it’s as important as learning the basics of science,” he said. “Anything you learn in sixth grade, learning to code is as important as that.”
Partovi, a Seattle investor and entrepreneur who’s sold companies to Microsoft and MySpace, is easily the strongest, most passionate advocate anywhere for the importance of learning how to code. In eight months his nonprofit, Code.org, has ignited a push from its small Second Avenue office to see coding taught in every American school. In China, students must learn code to graduate.
Here, 90 percent of schools don’t teach it. And in most states, taking a coding class doesn’t even count toward graduation.
But to me the most compelling argument for learning how to code is not about schools or even jobs, mighty as those motivators are, and should be. It’s about these basics. On Earth, atoms make things up, and gravity makes things fall. On digital, instructions code behaviors that build systems that every day run more and more of our lives. How we talk. How we move. How we exchange goods and services and information.
Code isn’t how a world works. It’s how the world works.