Coding

There’s something that I keep hearing: coding is not only a good skill to have, but it could be one of the preeminent skills that will be needed over the coming decades. This has been repeated by the likes of Cal Newport, Seth Godin, and Tim Ferriss. 

But what are we looking at in the future of coding? What can we come up with? Another app for the smartphone?

My recent interests have been looking at machine learning and quantum computing. Quantum computers “promise  to power exciting advances in various fields, from materials science to pharmaceuticals research.” 

While the computer remains vital in everyday activity, the quantum computer promises a leap forward into something we may not even be able to imagine yet.

Digital tolerance

Oh, internet. The bastion of great thoughts and petty skirmishes. An open forum of unique ideas and rehashed biases.

How we interact with each other online, if only viewed through that lens, would indicate we aren’t a very hospitable race. Twitter, Facebook, and even the ‘gram can sometimes reveal the vilest and despicable thoughts that we, the engaged, can express.

People say, or type, things online that they would never say in person. Others express opinions that they may have shared with like-minded individuals, maybe two or three in their community, but now they enjoy a world-spanning platform. The like-minded respond to their opinions, reinforcing behavior that, again, would not be socially acceptable in person.

At the same time, we actively engage in digital fisticuffs, trying our best to pivot and outmaneuver our networked opponents. Because they have become our opponents. No opinion but ours is valid online, and we defend our little nook with extreme prejudice, with failure never an option.

And thus we devolve into warlike attitudes with those who would otherwise be someone we could actually connect with.

The internet was, and remains, a great idea. It is its execution that has been stymied somewhat by us, the users.

Trying to remain tolerant of others with different opinions is usually a difficult task. At the best of times, it makes us somewhat uncomfortable to have our opinions challenged. At the worst… Well, wars have been fought for less.

Remember that behind each screen is a living person, little different from you or me. Attacking with verbal violence and vitriol shouldn’t be your go-to response. And rather than a preemptive trolling, why not engage in preemptive understanding?

Cultivating the internet

With so much information on the web, it’s simply impossible to know what you may find. So we turn to cultivators: newsletters, aggregation sites, and web searches.

Since we can’t possibly do it ourselves, we allow trusted advisors to show us the information that we need. Google, Yahoo, Apple News… all provided singular locales to peruse top news stories. Other options include:

  • Setting up a Google alert to keep you informed when topics of interest show up in news items.
  • Getting emails from brands can provide you with information on sales and products, while some even offer daily news updates.
  • Magazines and newspapers also offer daily news (and other) email subscriptions.
  • Tech, finance, education, science, etc., all have their own numerous dedicated lists and newsletters.

The important thing is to not become overwhelmed in the reception of all this information, because then the cultivators just become part of the abundance problem.

Measuring the internet

The internet is teeming with more data, more information, more nooks, crannies, and rabbit holes than I can even fathom.

Literally, there is something for each and every person to spend the rest of their lives on, if they so chose.

One estimate points to the amount of data stored on servers at Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Facebook is approximately 1.2 exabytes.

zettabyte.png

More than 90% of the current data online has been created since 2016. Roughly 25 petabytes are added to the internet each day. The Library of Congress blog estimated that, in 2012, it had 10 TB worth of knowledge stored within its hallowed halls.

You would need more than 100,000 complete Libraries of Congress to store the amount of information held on the servers of the four big tech companies. 

Thanks to Google and Bing; smart people creating search engines and utilizing boolean operators, we’re able to delve into the vastness that is the internet. Then it’s just a matter of choosing where to spend your time.