“Americans spend more on shoes, jewelry, and watches ($100 billion) than on higher education.”
Today, more than half the nation’s primary- and secondary-school students — more than 30 million children — use Google education apps like Gmail and Docs, the company said. And Chromebooks, Google-powered laptops that initially struggled to find a purpose, are now a powerhouse in America’s schools. Today they account for more than half the mobile devices shipped to schools.
And finally: protect the nerds. A computer programmer from Seattle is doing more to alleviate world poverty, hunger, and disease through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation than any other person in America right now. Nerds create vaccines. Nerds engineer bridges and roadways. Nerds become teachers and librarians. We need those obnoxiously smart people, because they make the world a better place. We can’t have them cowering before a society that rolls their eyes at every word they say.
[The computer revolution] hasn’t happened yet. And teaching people how to loop over a list won’t make it happen either. To realize the potential of computers, we have to focus on the fundamental skills that allow us to harness external computation. We have to create a new generation of tools that allow us to express our models without switching professions and a new generation of modelers who wield them.
To put it simply, the next great advance in human ability comes from being able to externalize the mental models we spend our entire lives creating.
We don’t want a generation of people forced to care about Unicode and UI toolkits. We want a generation of writers, biologists, and accountants that can leverage computers.
The big question is: What do we do if and when our old mechanisms for coping with inequality break down? If the “endowment of human capital” with which people are born gets less and less valuable, we’ll get closer and closer to that Econ 101 example of a world in which the capital owners get everything. A society with cheap robot labor would be an incredibly prosperous one, but we will need to find some way for the vast majority of human beings to share in that prosperity, or we risk the kinds of dystopian outcomes that now exist only in science fiction.
More than 50 percent of the traffic to Walmart.com during 2013 came from mobile devices. 50 percent! The world is going mobile at an astonishing pace for everyday Internet usage, and not just in the upper income brackets…
We still have no idea what this means. The most basic access method of the Internet is being reconfigured before our very eyes, and that’s bound to have enormous consequences.
Every American should know basic math. Every American should understand the logical underpinnings to coding, the way conditional clauses work and the cyclical way in which systems are constructed. Americans should know that the way a website works isn’t the way a video game works which isn’t the way a bank’s database works, but they don’t need to learn to “code” all of those things. Just as every American doesn’t need to get certified as a mechanic, but should know how to change a tire, every American should know how computer systems work in the abstract but doesn’t need to code.
The good news is that Millennials – those between the ages of 18 and 32 – have closed the divide more than ever before. Women in that group now earn 93 cents for every dollar earned by men, the narrowest gender wage gap since measurement began. (The average wage gap across generations is 84 cents to every dollar.)
At least 7,776 languages are in use in the greater offline world … Less than five percent of languages in use now exist online.
What has vanished over the past 40 years isn’t just Americans’ rising incomes. It’s their sense of control over their lives. The young college graduates working in jobs requiring no more than a high-school degree, the middle-aged unemployed who have permanently opted out of a labor market that has no place for them, the 45- to 60-year-olds who say they will have to delay their retirement because they have insufficient savings—all these and more are leading lives that have diverged from the aspirations that Americans until recently believed they could fulfill. This May, a Pew poll asked respondents if they thought that today’s children would be better or worse off than their parents. Sixty-two percent said worse off, while 33 percent said better.