Challenge-oriented intelligence

Posted by – 08/09/2008

I told you I was re-reading Paul Graham’s Hackers and Painters essay in order to update one of my lectures. I feel I like Ruby for I too have the same coding style as Paul’s:

I found that I liked to program sitting in front of a computer, not a piece of paper. Worse still, instead of patiently writing out a complete program and assuring myself it was correct, I tended to just spew out code that was hopelessly broken, and gradually beat it into shape. Debugging, I was taught, was a kind of final pass where you caught typos and oversights. The way I worked, it seemed like programming consisted of debugging.

Ruby sort of frees me of figuring out everything beforehand. Of course, Ruby is not the only language with that in it… It’s just the one I like the most… Anyway… This is not a language-versus-language rant… Rather this is about another article I just read by Carol S. Dweck…

The article focus on teaching kids that challenges can be taken as opportunities to improve. Failure at a challenge, in this sense, has less to do with intelligence than with effort. And I just mentioned Paul’s essay because I think what Carol is really talking about is that “hacking can be taught”… or rather that we should teach kids to be hackers. Here I mean “hacker” in the broad sense of the word, as in Paul’s essay, or in the Jargon File.

7. One who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations.

Maybe if knowledge researchers, teachers and psychologists “embrace and extend” what we already understand as hacking, and begin applying it at schools, we can all improve as a society. Who knows… Hacker-society might very well be our future society! 😉

What do you think about it?

3 Comments on Challenge-oriented intelligence

  1. spectra says:

    @Maria: Right. That is something that can actually happen in the near future… At least I would like it 😉

    @aaron: Hm… I don’t think this is a ‘Hack the Planet’ stuff… But I cannot see how teaching kids to face challenges as do-able things depending more on their effort than on their IQ would be a bad thing.

  2. Maria says:

    well, since i truly understand what is a hacker and how they have improved everything they touch, i dream with a world where the kids say: “when i grow up i wanna be a hacker” 😀

    have a good hacking!!!

  3. aaron says:

    I don’t know. All this “Hack the planet” stuff is not my dream of society.

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