Tuesday, March 12, 2013
We live in remarkable, revolutionary times. If you pay attention long enough, you realise it really is an amazing epoch to be alive in, on this small clump of dirt we call Earth.
Everything on Earth is evolving in some way. Notions of gender, marriage, sexuality, technology, economics, power, politics are all changing.
Remember when we just accepted everything as it was, purely for the reason 'because'?
Those days are over. In the developed world, everything is evolving though a post-modern maze. We need real answers. So, for the first time in generations, we have had to go back to the script and work out why things have been written the way they are.
The best example of this navel gazing is in education.
Remember when you went to school, because that was just what you had to do?
Even that is changing. There is now an education debate going on, worldwide, that you should be paying attention to.
People are asking, what is the real point of education? What should we be teaching our youth to be ready for the future? What should we be learning, as adults, to prepare ourselves for the challenges to come?
Tough questions, going to the foundation of education's very existence.
First, you have to know where education started. The education system was originally designed to produce more compliant and effective factory workers in the manufacturing industry, particularly for the big factories of the UK, Europe and America. It was not a philanthropic gesture.
Don't believe me? Start here and keep googling:
But something has changed fundamentally in the developed world, since that inception. The manufacturing jobs that built the current status quo are disappearing to developing countries, to chase lower wages and higher profit margins.
So, we now have an education system producing people hard-wired for a societal construct that no longer exists.
Can this lead to anything but misery?
Yes, it can lead to something better.
I remember learning to read and write. It was so incredible that it felt surreal. To be able to hear these words in my head and articulate them into thoughts and stories.
It was like a superpower. It still is.
But now, we need a new superpower. Luckily, this superpower that can be acquired.
We need to learn how to code. All of us.
Some of us will be better at it than others. Not all of us will make a career out of it.
But EVERYONE needs to learn it.
Software is now a driving force behind everything. Where once a person had a job keeping a spreadsheet tracking deliveries, now there is a program that can do it automatically.
This is the future, and it will affect every industry.
Film and content creators, I am talking particularly to you. The tools to distribute and promote your content will increasingly involve software.
It's happening already. There are now dedicated iphone Apps just for content from specific films. As this area grows, you will have to be able to at least understand what the programmers building websites (or any other software) for you are talking about.
But this is about more than that. This is about understanding the zeitgeist. It's about understanding how people think, so that you have a better ability to empathise and appeal to them as an audience for your films and stories.
If you don't understand what is driving the culture, how can you be a part of it as a storyteller?
If you don't even have a basic awareness of how coding works, you are being left behind. And that applies to everyone, whether you are a filmmaker or not.
Have you ever seen a senior citizen struggle to complete a simple task on a computer?
How will you feel talking to an eight year old that knows more about technology than you do?
The evolution of society in the developed world, and the need for new superpowers, has already begun.
Are you preparing for it?
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