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  1. Conatus's Avatar
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    Don't learn to code; learn to paint. [meaning of "to code"]


    Even after looking up in some good online dictionaries for the meaning of to verb "to code" as a genre of intelectual activity in the following text, I couldn't get it. Would you please give me an abstract explanation to the sense it conveys in the text or examples of activities that would be classified in this genre? Or would it be the same as "to make algorithms"?

    "Earlier this month, Samuel Arbesman argued in Wired that the world needs more generalists, dabblers and polymaths. He notes (and he’s certainly not the first to note) that the body of scientific and technical knowledge has grown so large that no one person can know everything. And as a consequence, people tend to specialize in one field or another. This is a problem, he writes, because 'the most exciting inventions occur at the boundaries of disciplines, among those who can bring different ideas from different fields together.'

    To foster polymaths, Arbesman argues that more people should 'embrace the machines.' In particular, by learning to code. Arbesman argues that 'through code, and the recognition that algorithmic similarity occurs over and over, we can see the similarities between different spheres of knowledge.'

    While I certainly appreciate Arbesman’s argument, his approach to creativity is fundamentally flawed. Learning to code is certainly a useful skill, if your profession is coding. It can also be a rewarding hobby – I’ve learned several different languages over the years. But for most people, learning to code just isn’t worth it. Technology changes so fast that to stay on top of coding means being focused on coding – thus opening yourself up to being caught in the very specialization rut that Arbesman is worried about.

    The key to being creative, in any field, be it scientific, technical, or business, in the 21st century definitely requires a certain comfort level in technology. But the best way to harness the power of computers doesn’t reside in coding – it resides in letting computers do the grunt computational work that humans are bad at, so that humans can focus on the creative, problem solving work that computers are bad at." (World Observer Online, December 27th 2013)

    Last edited by Conatus; 28-Dec-2013 at 00:07.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    Re: Don't learn to code; learn to paint. [meaning of "to code"]

    To code = to write computer code = to program computers
    Learn to code = learn computer programming
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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