(Guest Post by Amir Michail)
The case for teaching everyone programming
If everyone could program, then anyone could more easily and cheaply
scale his/her world view to reach millions in one-on-one conversations
to, for example, have greater impact on the results of an election.
If everyone could program, then anyone can more cheaply achieve
immortality by encoding what they would like others to remember about
them into a simulation of themselves.
Is it ethical to deny people such capabilities? Moreover, is it
ethical to deny people the chance to dream up and create entirely new
sorts of programs to enhance their lives?
But I hear you say that programming is a difficult skill that only a
few could learn. Not really. Learning programming is easier than
learning reading and writing, basic arithmetic, or playing a musical
instrument. Programming at a professional level is hard, but so is
writing a novel, proving theorems, or playing in an orchestra.
Nonetheless, we need to start thinking about ways to make programming
more accessible to the vast majority of the population. This might
mean taking the math out of programming and using languages that are
not Turing-complete. Chatbot programming is one such example.