Posts Tagged ‘robots’

Otherwise known as computer science.

Before I continue, let me define something I will refer to often in this post. A programming language is what a computer programmer uses to give instructions to a computer to make it do what she or he wants. Just as there are many languages in the world what allow people to communicate with each other, there are a variety of programming languages that allow people to “talk” to computers.

Why should you be interested in computer science? Well, besides the OODLES of money you could make and the fact that almost everything these days seems to have a computer inside, it is a lot of FUN and can help you become better at other things.

How can computer programming be fun?

Ever played a video game? It had to be programmed. Have a favorite website you visit often? It had to be programmed. Enjoy 3D animated movies like, Up or Wall-E? People had to program the tools used to make those movies. Like all the cool things your phone can do? They had to be programmed. Want to build your own robot friend? You will need to PROGRAM it. How else would it know to do your chores for you? 🙂 There are a lot of fun things you can do with a little bit of computer programming knowledge. Of course, once you start, I can almost guarantee that you will not want to stop.

Scratch programming language demo.

Scratch programming language demo. Click to see larger version.


Computer programming has also become very easy compared to a few years ago. There are graphical programming languages that allow you to create computer programs by dragging and dropping programming elements onto a work area. It is almost as easy as building something with Lego. A couple of great examples of graphical programming languages designed to help young people create games, animated movies, music, etc. are:

If you are looking for something more challenging, I recommend either Visual Basic or C# (my favorite programming language). Free versions of both programs are available from Microsoft along with plenty of videos and tutorials geared towards young people on how to GET STARTED.

How can computer programming help you at other things?

Computer programs have to be written in a very linear way, which means you have to tell it to do this, then that, then the other thing. Therefore, as a programmer, it causes to you to think about all the steps you need to take in order for the program you are writing to do what you want it to do in the order you want it done. After you have done this a few times, you will notice that you start using a similar process in your everyday life. Why is this GOOD?

Sometimes, when we have a TASK, especially complicated ones, to do, we may find it very hard to think about where to begin, what to do and when to do it. Having the view of a computer programmer really helps because you are able to DEFINE your goals and carry them out in an efficient and orderly way, and that helps you finish the task FASTER so that you can move on to other things you would rather be doing.

The second thing with learning a computer programming language is that it helps you understand other computer programming languages; precisely because they are very structured. You may not become proficient in making computer programs in the new language but you will be able to help out a friend or just FIGURE OUT what it is that the computer program is designed to do without actually executing (or running) it.

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I am not sure if you have noticed, but when watching a sci-fi movie, it seems that everyone knows a little bit about all the technical stuff that exists in the future. It may be just jargon to us but they seem to know what they are talking about.

I think in the future everyone will have to a strong scientific background to do their everyday jobs. Here is my “evidence.” Up until 10-15 years ago, computers were not part of our everyday lives. Now, it seems that there is a computer on every desk. Anyone who does not know how to use a computer will have a very hard time finding a job.

Sure, there are jobs that do not require much technical knowledge, but they will become rarer as time goes on and anything that can be automated, will be automated.

Example

Future jobs will require creativity and understanding of science. A simple example that exists today is one of a movie stunt coordinator. Since each stunt has to be different and unique, it cannot be automated. In order make it look exciting, the stunt coordinator has to use creativity to choreograph the stunt. To make sure that everything goes smoothly and safely, the stunt coordinator has to know about Newton’s Laws of Motion (e.g. to determine how a car will fly off a ramp),  chemicals and how they react with each other in various quantities (to create explosions) and electronics (to set off the stunts at the right times).

Resources

*As I have posted before, I believe everyone is already a scientist. This post is to show that in the future people will have to be consciously using science in their daily lives rather than sub-consciously as we currently do.

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