There is a 38 000 word essay on Bloomberg written by Paul Ford titled “What is Code?” which I advise anyone interested in technology or the future to read.
The article is a crash course on Computer Science, tips on programming, the importance of code, future studies, business, the history of computers and many other things related to computers compressed into one very very long essay. It’s an informative read which also manages not to be boring despite its length.
I didn’t read all of it in one go, I read about a quarter today and will finish it up in the next few days. I think you can read it that way too, that much information can be overwhelming, particularly if you are not well versed in coding and comp science.
Ford has been programming for decades and the essay is well written. The breadth of the essay and the way various topics are linked together will make you look at your microwave or the elevator with newfound admiration and appreciation of the wonders of coding.
What then is code? Code is many things as Ford reveals, it powers our phones, controls our TVs, makes it possible to print assignments and listen to our favourite musicians and do millions of other everyday and also esoteric tasks.
But I do not need 40000 words to give my answer. To answer this question I’ll quote Arthur Clarke’s third law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.
Code is magic.