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Comment Re:Some people don't get it either (Score 1) 130

The problem is that the brain understands sarcasm because language is normally interpreted with a huge amount of explicit context and previously acquired knowledge. All of that context and real-world knowledge is (or at least seems to be) accessible when the language processing algorithm is inferring what a particular statement means.

Once we give the computer a life-time of human memories, it will process language much better.

Comment Bait and Switch (Score 1) 158

The problem (or at least one of them) is that there is a good idea buried under a bad idea.

Trying to make every child into a professional programmer, on the assumption that programming will in the future be the equivalent of unskilled labour today, is just asking for trouble. In 10 or 20 years people will be very angry at having had so many resources - not to mention the children's opportunity costs - sunk into something that will simply lead to bitter disappointment for the majority who cannot realistically become programmers and low wages for the few who can.

However, every child should learn *something* about computer technology because some minimal familiarity will be necessary to function in society, the same as people ought to know what lawyers, bankers, accountants etc. do, not necessarily so they can work in those professions, but to understand why and when their specialities are needed.

Also children should have something intellectually challenging that teaches them problem-solving skills. In a sense, it doesn't matter what that is, just that it requires intellectual effort and development of skill. For a long time people did fine (well, adequately) teaching children Latin or the geometry of Euclid's Elements, without any real expectation that these would be practical skills; the goal was to force them to think. Programming can teach logic and also be highly motivating to children because it's a part of all the technologies that are glamorous and exciting.

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