that you call Whether it’s the metaverse, the megaverse, or the multiverse, our future selves will undoubtedly live in a blended world of real and virtual experiences unlike anything we know today. And that future will be built on the backbone of unfathomable amounts of code.
As much as I would like to believe that the code is infallible and unbiased, it’s not. Coders are human, and for the past 40 years those humans have been mostly white males. Even today, 65% of computer programmers are white (non-Hispanic), and the nonprofit group girls who code reports that only 22% of computer programmers identify as women.
The idea that a small slice of humanity has created and will create social and work platforms for the rest of humanity unless more diverse people participate is alarming. If you think that’s not your problem, think again. “Bias in AI algorithms affects everyone from creators to citizens, so the need for diversity is imperative,” explains Pat Yongpraditdirector of studies at Code.org.
Also, do we want more of what we have now, with big social media companies’ problems with privacy, misinformation and manipulation? “Future generations are going to do things with technology that we can only imagine. The more people we have around the table while it is being built, the more likely we are to build something different from what we had before” , says Kimberly Bryant, founder of black girls code.
The good news is that many apps and services, nonprofits and for-profits, are working hard to inspire all kids to love computing and bring diversity into the landscape of what’s to come.
Increasing participation in computer science among students from underrepresented groups is enshrined in Code.org’s mission statement. The nonprofit organization is the largest provider of free curriculum, lesson plans, teacher training, and programming environments in schools.
Code.org is unique because it focuses on systematic change from the federal government to the state and local levels. It’s annual report on the state of computer science education provides updates on computer science education policy, including policy trends, maps, status summaries, and implementation data.
In 2013, the band launched their hugely successful Hour of Code, a global effort to celebrate computing, starting with hour-long coding activities. Today, Hour of Code has reached tens of millions of students in over 180 countries.
Kids can try out free coding projects through the Code.org website. If your school does not offer computer education, you can help through donations, volunteering, contacts with your school and the promotion of computing in your area.
Kimberly Bryant, an electrical engineer by trade, founded Black Girls Code (BGC) in 2010 after noticing a few students of color in coding and robotics workshops that her middle-aged daughter loved. “I wanted to create an opportunity for my daughter to learn these tangible skills, but also to develop her self-confidence and leadership abilities in a space where it was safe for her to be herself,” says Bryant.