Code Is the Coolest Thing Since Fire! (How to Convince Non-Techies)
As you might have already learned, T-Me Studios is gearing up for its first ever hackathon. Leading up to that, the feverish anticipation is mounting around the office, to such levels that non-techies might find the whole thing baffling.
Because our devs – and presumably all devs – are always having to explain the wonders of code to their tech-averse friends, we thought we’d dig up the best-looking, universally liked products, things we take for granted as enhancing our day-to-day, which the addition of code has managed to improve on. These are all so macro in scope no one, not even the code-illiterate or the tech-wary can deny their cool factor is through the roof! Check them out:
Code-Spawned Worlds in NO MAN’S SKY
Video games are probably best-known by the non-techie as time-sucks. But if the developer is enough of a visionary, the possibilities of what they can achieve through a well-wrought line of code are greater in scope. The UK-based indie devs of Hello Games are hard at work to launch, in the near future, an actual-scale digital cosmos – where unlocking a massive central mystery is the object, but No Man’s Sky players can just as well choose to spend their time discovering (and naming) planets. Everything in this ambitious game is predicated on math equations and algorithms, so that not even the demiurge of this universe knows all its nooks and crannies. Is it a game-verse, or can we agree it’s so massive we can just drop the limitations and call it a Universe in its own right? See for yourselves:
Code-Run Muscle Cars Like the FORD GT
They say that for every thousand lines of code, there is one vulnerability – well here’s a counter-quote for the wary: for every ten million lines of code, there is now one awesome-looking supercar! The longtime car maker Ford has just launched a new high-bred Ford GT, that uses more software than an airliner. Of course the self-driven cars that will probably redefine traffic (and our lives along with it) beginning this summer are going to top that 10th-million-line mark, but the Ford, the car most talked about so far this year, is what will make an impression with stick-in-the-mud muggles. Because at the end of the day, cars have to be fun to drive. But while the 600 hp of the Ford GT makes more than explains why it hit instant fame in no time flat, the reason behind the software might escape many – in fact, the hyper-car’s 50 onboard sensors and 28 microrprocessors will be helping the driver, much like the code on Google’s cars are helping pedestrians, stay safe.
DIY Code-ups Like on the TESLA MODEL S
If you’re less into high-bred and more into hybrids, chances are you’ve already gawked at and cooed over Tesla’s electric luxury sport sedan, the Model S. Tesla owners who can code however are taking much more joy in their cars by pimping them up. The concept of auto tinkering isn’t new so it shouldn’t be too hard a sell to non-techies, though the tweaks and improvements come in the form of code, not turbo systems. Coders trick them out by building apps on top of the built-in software or the official Tesla app, that allows them to to just about anything, from locking and unlocking doors to checking if the car’s plugged-in and/or charging. And with the new OTA software update set to roll out any day now, it’s sure to open up new opportunities for coders who are redefining the long-standing tradition of souping cars up. The takeaway here is, learn to code and you can create on top of everyone else’s creations, which can only drive humanity forward (and make creature comforts that much comfier in the bargain).
— Joe Pasqua (@visibletesla) April 29, 2015
Gamification of Everything, as in KSP
The newly released Kerbal Space Program 1.0. boasts a fun gameplay, engaging graphics and green Kerbals, humanoid characters that reel you in – moths to a flame-style! But it’s the realistic true-to-life physics that have reeled NASA in (yes, that NASA!), as they approached the game devs to spin one of their own missions into the game. To be given this seal of approval from the most famous body of stargazers in the world is no mean feat for a space flight simulator. No one, not even the producer of KSP himself, Miguel Piña, could have expected it – but the fact of the matter is this is more than a game, and its massive cult following bears that out. Engineers and physicists play KSP, side by side with kids from elementary school, and coders are welcome to manipulate the game (as the devs have open-sourced the mechanics and physics behind it). Another great offshoot of KSP? The educational benefits can’t be overstated – as Piña notes for Kernel Mag, “We are teaching like college-level physics to people who are probably still struggling with long division.”
Watch the hugely popular, and hilarious YouTuber PewDiePie try his hand at KSP!
Code-Perfect Medical Robots like the DA VINCI
Robots are cool however you slice it, but it’s probably hard to bring that across to those who aren’t really into sci-fi. They might however be able to fully grasp just what a boon robots can be for humanity if you have them watch nano-particles kill bacteria off or a robot suture a grape. Nano-tech is quickly becoming the go-to buzzword in medicine, with so many micro-targeted uses that can overhaul everything we’ve ever known about fighting disease. And slightly larger tech, but still granular in terms of the level of detail it affords us, is already becoming the norm in hospitals around the world, in the form of the Da Vinci. The code behind this surgical robot that you can see in action below, is a life-saver, insofar as there’s no chance its hand will slip or quiver or fail you. Aptly named, this man-operated robot is an artist of the minutiae, and it’s the kind of “surgeon’s aid” you want on your side when the going gets tough and your skin needs just as much TLC as this grape’s! In the foreseeable future, the best surgeons in the world will be able to apply their expertise, i.e. operate on a patient remotely – if we’re talking tech-enabled game-changers, there’s none so mind-blowing as this.
The trick, then, to getting non-techies to see the light, namely that code-wrangling can move mountains, is presenting them with the real-life iterations and benefits that come from a few – or a million – lines of code. People whose lives or conceptions don’t mix well with programming can and will get behind it if the code makes the things we care about and are fascinated by even more wondrous to look at or engage with.