George Mount doesn’t buy the “point-and-click” story about analytics tools, making everyone an analyst. Innovation in this space – like all others – happens in waves, & it’s happened before. With several examples, including for Power Query, he recommends
data professionals learn a bit about coding. Maybe not every data solution requires it; that’s fine. But given where we’ve come from in the data world, I’m not inclined to say that the future is all low and no code.
Programmer Chase Felker disagrees with the flavour of our times – the need for everyone to learn to code. He thinks that there is a different, and more pertinent need – the need to think.
I wonder why people are comfortable with thinking of computers as a scary black box in the first place. Computers do only what people tell them to do, and yet it is absurdly common to hear, “Windows crashed again! Call over the IT guy—it’s so complicated!” So many users do not feel empowered to understand how to use computers well, and I think that the urgency to spread programming is a symptom of this feeling. Perhaps if everyone had some practice telling computers what to do, tech intimidation wouldn’t be so prevalent.
Nicholas Carr wonders how long it will be before machines need to have ethical systems built in. Imagine, he says, that you’re happily tweeting away as your Google self-driving car crosses a bridge, its speed precisely synced to the 50 m.p.h. limit. A group of frisky schoolchildren is also heading across the bridge, on the pedestrian walkway. Suddenly, there’s a tussle, and three of the kids are pushed into the road, right in your vehicle’s path. Your self-driving car has a fraction of a second to make a choice: Either it swerves off the bridge, possibly killing you, or it runs over the children. What does the Google algorithm tell it to do?”