What is Code?

Bloomberg recently posted a very long article by Paul Ford called What Is Code?. I have been reading bits and pieces of it at a time for the past several days. But for someone who is learning how to code, wants to understand how computers work, and how they will change our future, this is a very accessible, , beautifully designed, and well-written article. It talks about the complexities of code while also acknowledging the simplicity. It encourages you to think about what code is and does. I particularly like when he says:

Code is inert. How do you make it ert? You run software that transforms it into machine language. The word “language” is a little ambitious here, given that you can make a computing device with wood and marbles.

The computer waiting to turn signals into commands to complete a task… that is what I mean about complexity and simplicity.

Learning these things has been on my radar for a long time, but it felt like so much… too daunting of a task. The Scratch MOOC just kind of started the ball rolling. Now that I am understanding it and enjoying it, I realize just how important this is for our future. After all, as Ford says:

If coders don’t run the world, they run the things that run the world.

via Paul Ford: What is Code? | Bloomberg.