Vote or die? How about Code or die?

For the first time in 20 years, the percentage of American households with a TV has gone down. From 98.9% to 96.7%.

And yet, for folks under 25, media consumption is way, way up. With things like Facebook, Hulu, Youtube, Netflix and videogaming systems, us young guns are gulping media down by the heaping spoonful. We’re being drowned by funny pictures, cool videos, TV on the internet and games to play.

But how bad is that?
Image of a toy called "Viewmaster"

Night-vision goggles and round ninja stars?

What made me think of what’s about to come is actually a very small quote from the New York Times article I linked you to, up there: TV ownership has gone down because of “young people who have grown up with laptops in their hands instead of remote controls are opting not to buy TV sets when they graduate from college or enter the work force, at least not at first. Instead, they are subsisting on a diet of television shows and movies from the Internet.”

It’s interesting to consider that our generation is pretty much the first to have only lived in a world with the internet. But technology is growing so rapidly that even within our own generation there are gaps: I’ll bet you almost nobody who is going to high school knows what that thing to the right is, for example.

That being said, we have a unique existence. We’ve grown up with technology, are naturalized to it, and because of that have an exquisitely deep understanding of how technology works. It’s hard to even notice, it’s so intrinsic. But it comes up when you try to explain how to “get Google up” to one of your older relatives.

And furthermore, what use is this archaic technology that is the TV? It looks an awful lot like my computer, but it can’t get on the internet and I can’t hook my keyboard and mouse up to it. Is it broken or something? The foundations of some major business models are facing upheaval: cable TV is dying, movie rental stores are all but gone, consoles and computers are quickly becoming one. And watches, alarm clocks, planners, calendars, notebooks, pagers, maps, calculators, cameras, dictionaries, walkmans (also known as mp3 players, to this generation) and even flashlights are all condensed into one thing: the smartphone.

Want to know how to get ahead of the curve? Don’t settle for what is right now—the way things are working right now means next to nothing specifically because of these upheavals. The human race has virtually infinite capacity for growth and development on every front, thanks to technology.

Image from the movie TRON: Legacy

"Biodigital jazz, man."

Consider this: computer science is the only science which deals with an environment entirely created by humans. Biology studies naturally-occurring life. Geology, the earth. Astronomy studies space. Chemistry studies atoms. All those things came from somewhere, something or someone—depending on your belief. Computer science, on the other hand? Humans built the computers, and humans designed the programming languages we use to code.

Because of this, we get to decide—if we choose to take the reins—what the future holds. We get to decide what gets made and what comes from it.

Long story short, learn to program. We are probably the very last generation which won’t go through a school system where it’s as required as math or writing. We’re the transitional generation—and if we want to survive, we have to transition. Plus, Python is a great programming language to start in, and it’s free.


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