The New Digital Literacy
Clay Johnson, author of The Information Diet, argues that software developers should take responsibility for the vital role they play in a digital society, and individuals need to be aware of the basic digital literacy skills we need to possess in order to be programmers, not just subjects who are programmed.
In the 21st century economy, we are the programmers and the programmed. What does that mean?
According to the media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, author of Program or Be Programmed, people like to think of technologies and media as neutral and that only their use or content determines their impact. For instance, "Guns don't kill people, after all, people kill people." And yet, guns are much more biased toward killing people than, say, pillows — even though many a pillow has been utilized to smother an aging relative or adulterous spouse, Rushkoff points out.
Our widespread inability to recognize or even acknowledge the biases of the technologies we use renders us incapable of gaining any real agency through them, Rushkoff argues. We accept our iPads, Facebook accounts and automobiles at face value — as pre-existing conditions — rather than tools with embedded biases.
So how can we re-envision our relationship with technology? If the concept that technologies have biases were to become common knowledge, Rushkoff argues, we would put ourselves in a position to implement them "consciously and purposefully." If we don't bring this concept into general awareness, on the other hand, "our technologies and their effects will continue to "threaten and confound us."
In the video below, Clay Johnson, author of The Information Diet, argues that software developers should take responsibility for the vital role they play in a digital society, and individuals need to be aware of the basic digital literacy skills we need to possess in order to be programmers, not just subjects who are programmed.
Watch the video here:
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Universities claim to prepare students for the world. How many actually do it?
- Many university mission statements do not live up to their promise, writes Ben Nelson, founder of Minerva, a university designed to develop intellect over content memorization.
- The core competencies that students need for success—critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and cross-cultural understanding, for example—should be intentionally taught, not left to chance.
- These competencies can be summed up with one word: wisdom. True wisdom is the ability to apply one's knowledge appropriately when faced with novel situations.
This is what the world will look like, 250 million years from now
To us humans, the shape and location of oceans and continents seems fixed. But that's only because our lives are so short.
As a doctor, I am reminded every day of the fragility of the human body, how closely mortality lurks just around the corner.
Tyson dives into the search for alien life, dark matter, and the physics of football.
- Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson joins us to talk about one of our favorite subjects: space.
- In the three-chaptered video, Tyson speaks about the search for alien life inside and outside of the Goldilocks Zone, why the term "dark matter" should really be called "dark gravity," and how the rotation of the Earth may have been the deciding factor in a football game.
- These fascinating space facts, as well as others shared in Tyson's books, make it easier for everyone to grasp complex ideas that are literally out of this world.
SpaceX's momentous Crew Dragon launch is a sign of things to come for the space industry, and humanity's future.