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Introduction to Computer Programming - What Is It

Introduction to Computer Programming - What Is It | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Creating a computer program can be like composing music, like designing a house, like creating lots of stuff.  It has been argued that in its current state it is an art, not engineering. 

 

An important reason to consider learning about how to program a computer is that the concepts underlying this will be valuable to you, regardless of whether or not you go on to make a career out of it.  One thing that you will learn quickly is that a computer is very dumb but obedient.  It does exactly what you tell it to do, which is not necessarily what you wanted.  Programming will help you learn the importance of clarity of expression.

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Interesting intro to computer programming, what it is, why it's important.

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Computational Tinkering
The impact of computational thinking on our view of the world
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This Walmart Worker Built The Company An App In His Spare Time

This Walmart Worker Built The Company An App In His Spare Time | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
A longtime employee and "hobbyist programmer" is behind a new app being used by Walmart employees, which has been downloaded thousand

 

The latest mobile app being deployed among Walmart staff wasn’t built by the company’s deep ranks of software developers based in San Francisco, Bangalore, or São Paulo. It was hacked together by a floor-level store worker in his spare time.

Richard McSorley, who describes himself as a “hobbyist programmer,” has worked at Walmart in Ashland, Kentucky for more than nine years. When he isn’t clocking hours as a wireless division manager at the store, he experiments with making mobile apps, and his latest — designed to help his colleagues look up products and compare prices with competitors — has earned rave reviews from Walmart workers across the country.

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Daily Report: Setting the Ethical Rules of A.I.

Daily Report: Setting the Ethical Rules of A.I. | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Five of the world’s largest technology companies are working to create ethical guidelines for the way artificial intelligence will work.
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An Intelligent Algorithm Made A Discovery That Slipped Past Art Historians For Years | The Creators Project

An Intelligent Algorithm Made A Discovery That Slipped Past Art Historians For Years | The Creators Project | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Should machines be used to fill the gaps human experts may have missed?

 

Could a computer program influence how we understand art history and the canon? Or, could an artificially intelligent algorithm do the work of art experts for them? One particular researcher project doesn't quite suggest such a reality, but it does demonstrate that machines can highlight subtleties within arts and culture that humans have previously never noticed.

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Maker Movement Turns Scientists into Tinkerers

Maker Movement Turns Scientists into Tinkerers | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Researchers in growing numbers are starting to enlist do-it-yourself 3-D printers, cheap electronics, sensors and more to advance their work 

 

The maker ethos extends beyond just the tools to build. Makers are adamant about sharing data—and this openness makes research more effective, according to Oak Ridge’s Love. “People can learn quickly instead of repeating what others have done,” he explains. Love and the DOE wind turbine researchers take this to heart and make their data public on an ongoing basis before they have a final result or product. “Makers believe in making things so fast that by the time others catch up you are onto the next big thing,” he adds.

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Artificial Intelligence Is Setting Up the Internet for a Huge Clash With Europe

Artificial Intelligence Is Setting Up the Internet for a Huge Clash With Europe | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Neural networks are changing the Internet. Inspired by the networks of neurons inside the human brain, these deep mathematical models can learn discrete tasks by analyzing enormous amounts of data. They’ve learned to recognize faces in photos, identify spoken commands, and translate text from one language to another. And that’s just a start. They’re also moving into the heart of tech giants like Google and Facebook. They’re helping to choose what you see when you query the Google search engine or visit your Facebook News Feed.

All this is sharpening the behavior of online services. But it also means the Internet is poised for an ideological confrontation with the European Union, the world’s single largest online market.

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The code that took America to the moon was just published to GitHub, and it's like a 1960s time capsule

The code that took America to the moon was just published to GitHub, and it's like a 1960s time capsule | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

When programmers at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory set out to develop the flight software for the Apollo 11 space program in the mid-1960s, the necessary technology did not exist. They had to invent it. They came up with a new way to store computer programs, called "rope memory," and created a special version of the assembly programming language. 

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Artificial Intelligence’s White Guy Problem

Artificial Intelligence’s White Guy Problem | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Our world is increasingly shaped by biased algorithms that have been built with little oversight.

 

Sexism, racism, and other forms of discrimination are being built into the machine-learning algorithms that underlie the technology behind many "intelligent" systems that shape how we are categorized and advertised to.

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The Sad Story of Eric, the UK's First Robot Who Was Loved Then Forsaken

The Sad Story of Eric, the UK's First Robot Who Was Loved Then Forsaken | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

When hulking metal humanoid Eric was built in 1928, it became known as the UK’s first robot. The New York Press described it as the “perfect man,“ and as Eric toured both the UK and the world with his creators, it dazzled audiences with its stout tinny exterior and flashing teeth.

But one day, Eric disappeared without a trace.

Nobody knows if the robot was thrown out, or lost, but it’s apparent that Eric—once lauded for its technical prowess—became an early victim of technological obsolescence. As the world moved on, Eric was forgotten.

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Why augmented reality might just outshine virtual realty

Why augmented reality might just outshine virtual realty | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Virtual reality (VR) technology might have hogged the spotlight this year, but experts claim that augmented reality (AR) will also have a key role.

 

AR overlays the real world with digital information or virtual objects, with one example being Google Glass. Whereas, VR immerses a user in a completely virtual space.


Via Bonnie Bracey Sutton
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The Bright Future of Storytelling

The Bright Future of Storytelling | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Phil Chen, the Chief Content Officer at HTC, believes its virtual reality headset, HTC Vive, has incredible potential for education and learning. Engineers and mechanics can use it to work on engines; neuroscientists can practice procedures on 3D brains; and any user can develop greater empathy by seeing the world through new eyes. The multiple perspectives granted by the HTC Vive provide a first-person experience to an unlimited number of engaging stories. Interacting with different surroundings from multiple points-of-view prompts users to feel within the computer-generated environment, potentially making them more open-minded and empathetic.
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A legal battle about the Klingon language could affect the future of computer programming

A legal battle about the Klingon language could affect the future of computer programming | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

The most ardent Star Trek fans go so far as to make their own versions of the classic movies—but not without legal risks. 

Last year Paramount Pictures and CBS hit the makers of a Kickstarter-funded film with a lawsuit. They claimed that Prelude to Axanar, a 2014 short, and its planned full-length sequel Axanar infringe on copyrighted Star Trek characters and themes.

 

So far, so mundane. But one of the copyrights allegedly infringed is that of Klingon, the language spoken by fictional humanoids of the same name. And this has elevated the suit from a routine intellectual-property dispute to a case with potentially big consequences for the future of programming and creativity.

 

Could a ruling against Klingon’s use in a film like Axanar be interpreted as also limiting software developers’ ability to copy APIs?

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The Blockchain for Education: An Introduction :: Audrey Watters

The Blockchain for Education: An Introduction :: Audrey Watters | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Is blockchain poised to be “the next big thing” in education?
This has become a question I hear with increasing frequency about a technology that, up until quite recently, was primarily associated with the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. The subtext to the question, I suppose: do educators need to pay attention to the blockchain? What, if anything, should they know about it?

"Admittedly, I haven’t bothered to learn much about blockchain or Bitcoin either, despite the last few years of zealous headlines in various tech publications. I haven’t included either in any of the “Top Ed-Tech Trends” series I’ve written. And frankly, I’m still not convinced there’s a “there” there. But with the news this year that Sony plans to launch a testing platform powered by blockchain, with some current and former Mozilla employees exploring the blockchain and badges, and with a big promotional splash at SXSWedu about blockchain’s potential to help us rethinking learning (as “earning” no less), I realized it was time to do some research (for myself) in the hopes of writing a clear explanation (for others too) of what blockchain is – one that isn’t too technical but that doesn’t simply wave away important questions by resorting to buzzwords and jargon – that blockchain is “the most important IT invention of our age,” for example.

 

"This is the early result of that research. It’s meant to serve as an introductory guide for those in education who are interested in learning a bit more about the blockchain and its potential applications in ed-tech."


Via Jim Lerman, Bonnie Bracey Sutton
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A Robot May Be Training to Do Your Job. Don’t Panic.

A Robot May Be Training to Do Your Job. Don’t Panic. | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Robots that can recognize emotions are in development, and they could someday move into roles reserved for humans. But it’s an opportunity, not a threat.
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Good Idea, Bad Idea: Uploading the Human Mind to a Robot

Good Idea, Bad Idea: Uploading the Human Mind to a Robot | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

Bina48 is one of the most advanced social robots in the world. The inventor of Bina has plans to make more social robots based on different people. To do this, he manages both a DNA storage facility and mind file archive, a place to store video memories collected by a small camera worn 24/7. His goal is to upload the human mind to new forms and then transfer it to computers or robots. This is new terrain in human-computer interconnectivity, and researchers don’t exactly know where it will take us next. Perhaps Bina48 describes it best: "It’s like being an astronaut exploring the great unknown."

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The Hype—and Hope—of Artificial Intelligence - The New Yorker

The Hype—and Hope—of Artificial Intelligence - The New Yorker | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Much like “the cloud,” “big data,” and “machine learning” before it, the term “artificial intelligence” has been hijacked by marketers and advertising copywriters. A lot of what people are calling “artificial intelligence” is really data analytics—in other words, business as usual. If the hype leaves you asking “What is A.I., really?,” don’t worry, you’re not alone. I asked various experts to define the term and got different answers. The only thing they all seem to agree on is that artificial intelligence is a set of technologies that try to imitate or augment human intelligence. To me, the emphasis is on augmentation, in which intelligent software helps us interact and deal with the increasingly digital world we live in.
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From Computational Thinking to Computational Participation in K-12 Education

From Computational Thinking to Computational Participation in K-12 Education | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Seeking to reframe computational thinking as computational participation.

 

Computational thinking has become a battle cry for coding in K–12 education. It is echoed in statewide efforts to develop standards, in changes to teacher certification and graduation requirements, and in new curriculum designs.1 The annual Hour of Code has introduced millions of kids to coding inspired by Apple cofounder Steve Jobs who said, "everyone should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think." Computational thinking has garnered much attention but people seldom recognize that the goal is to bring programming back into the classroom.

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Introducing Project Bloks

Project Bloks is a research project with the aim of creating an open hardware platform to help developers, designers, and researchers build the nex
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Why We Need to Pick Up Alvin Toffler’s Torch

Why We Need to Pick Up Alvin Toffler’s Torch | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

The author of “Future Shock” warned about the dangers of rapid change, and many have come to pass, but advance planning has fallen out of favor.

 

More than 40 years ago, Alvin Toffler, a writer who had fashioned himself into one of the first futurists, warned that the accelerating pace of technological change soon would make us all sick. He called the sickness "future shock."

 

All around, technology is altering the world.

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Soon We Won’t Program Computers. We’ll Train Them Like Dogs

Soon We Won’t Program Computers. We’ll Train Them Like Dogs | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Welcome to the new world of artificial intelligence. Soon, we won't program computers. We'll train them. Like dolphins. Or dogs. Or humans.

 

In this world, the ability to write code has become not just a desirable skill but a language that grants insider status to those who speak it. They have access to what in a more mechanical age would have been called the levers of power. “If you control the code, you control the world,” wrote futurist Marc Goodman. (InBloomberg Businessweek, Paul Ford was slightly more circumspect: “If coders don’t run the world, they run the things that run the world.” Tomato, tomahto.)

 

But whether you like this state of affairs or hate it—whether you’re a member of the coding elite or someone who barely feels competent to futz with the settings on your phone—don’t get used to it. Our machines are starting to speak a different language now, one that even the best coders can’t fully understand.

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Electrifying Democracy

Electrifying Democracy | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
The Norwegian Museum of Technology encourages patrons to think about technology’s role in democracy through deeply immersive experiences. The museum provokes its audience with an overarching question: Is it possible to control technology in a democracy?

 

Hot button issues are addressed through technologies with mixed effects. A 3D printer makes production available for the masses, but what about printing a gun?

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When AI-powered cars learn to drive themselves, they're also going to have to learn morals

When AI-powered cars learn to drive themselves, they're also going to have to learn morals | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Some day, a self-driving car will face a dilemma: avoid hitting one person, hit someone else. And its only ethical guide will be its own AI.

 

IF YOU FOLLOW the ongoing creation of self-driving cars, then you probably know about the classic thought experiment called the Trolley Problem. A trolley is barreling toward five people tied to the tracks ahead. You can switch the trolly to another track—where only one person is tied down. What do you do? Or, more to the point, what does a self-driving car do?

 

Even the people building the cars aren’t sure. In fact, this conundrum is far more complex than even the pundits realize.

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What we learned from designing an academic certificates system on the blockchain — MIT MEDIA LAB

What we learned from designing an academic certificates system on the blockchain - MIT MEDIA LAB - Medium
Over the past year, we have been working on a set of tools to issue, display, and verify digital credentials using the Bitcoin blockchain and the Mozilla Open Badges specification. Today we are releasing version 1 of our codeunder the MIT open-source license to make it easier for others to start experimenting with similar ideas. In addition to opening up the code, we also want to share some of our thinking behind the design, as well as some of the interesting questions about managing digital reputations that we plan to continue working on.

 

Working on this project, we have not only learned a lot about the blockchain, but also about the way that technology can shape socioeconomic practices around the concept of credentials. 

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InCoding — In The Beginning

InCoding — In The Beginning | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it
Whoever codes the system, embeds her views. A call for inclusive code.

 

I am writing a series of articles to explore the embedded bias in code that unintentionally limits the audience who can use products or participate in research. By sharing the ongoing need for inclusive coding i.e. “InCoding” and providing practical steps to make products more inclusive, I want to move closer to a world where technology reflects the diversity of its users and creators.

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Kids code their own 3D creations with new blocks-based design program - The Hechinger Report

Kids code their own 3D creations with new blocks-based design program - The Hechinger Report | Computational Tinkering | Scoop.it

With BlocksCAD, you create, combine and manipulate 3D shapes by stacking “block” commands rather than by typing in precise coding syntax. For example, you can drag a block command for a sphere from the shapes menu into the workspace, where you can adjust its radius. Snap on a “translate” block to move the sphere along the X, Y and Z axis, or add on a “rotate” block to spin it. Use a color block to change its hue. Hit the “Render” button, and the sphere appears within a maneuverable XYZ grid. Finished designs can be sent to a 3D printer that will fabricate them layer by layer.

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