By Douglas Rushkoff, Special to CNN
Editor's note: Douglas Rushkoff, who writes regularly for CNN.com, is a media theorist and the author of "Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age" and "Life Inc: How Corporatism Conquered the World and How We Can Take it Back."
(CNN) - This week, New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg tweeted his intent to learn computer code by the end of the year. He joined about 300,000 other people who have signed up at CodeYear to receive free interactive programming lessons each week from the Codecademy, a web-based tutorial. I am greatly relieved.
It's time Americans begin treating computer code the way we do the alphabet or arithmetic. Code is the stuff that makes computer programs work - the list of commands that tells a word processor, a website, a video game, or an airplane navigation system what to do. That's all software is: lines of code, written by people.
We are socializing, working, consuming, and living in a world increasingly defined by programs. Learning to code is the best way to understand what all those programs do, or even to recognize that they are there in the first place.FULL STORY