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Program or Be Programmed

OPB | May 24, 2011 9:15 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 10:08 p.m.

Douglas Rushkoff believes if you use computers, you should be able to write the programs that you use. He likens it to having a car but not being able to drive, which means you have to trust and rely on a driver to take you where you want to go. (Do you trust your search engine to give you the answers you’re looking for?)

But if you can’t or won’t learn programming, he wants anyone who uses media — certainly anyone reading this post — to at least be aware that these programs literally control how you use the internet and computers. And to consider that — even in this hyper digital age — using technology is a choice: you don’t have to be wired 24/7, you don’t have to take that call, answer that text, or view that link you were just forwarded. Really. Douglas Rushkoff is in Portland this week for a national conference on the future of the web.

What’s your relationship with your digital devices? Do you feel tired or energized by spending hours in front of your computer, checking email or social media sites?

And how much control do you feel like you have over those devices? Would a deeper understanding of programming change the way you use them?


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