The use of programming language has borne some fruitful results over the years. The advancement of Android and iOS devices is the direct result of how good our programs have become in coding new software and innovative applications. The likes of Python, C, and C++ are few of the most commonly used programming language we come across in our life.
The development of software such as navigational software has benefited a lot of people in every corner of the world. A decade back, Apple introduced Siri to the world, and it completely changed the virtual assistant world for good. Initially, the response from the users was not quite promising, but with time, the popularity rose exponentially. Currently, the likes of Amazon and Google have their virtual assistant programs which are highly accessible and useful across the globe.
We got so busy with such software and applications that we often to forget the efforts put by the able programmers who wrote hundreds of codes to make the application work accordingly. To provide our readers with a better understanding of programming, we will take the example of Siri and show how it works.
The Virtual Assistant from Apple:
Apple introduced the virtual assistant in question in their manufactured devices in the year 2011. It took quite some time to become a hit among the people as the concept was entirely new for the users. The term ‘virtual’ was attached during the launch of the software by the then Apple CEO as the assistance is produced by a programmed voice run by artificial intelligence instead of a human being.
The software Siri is part of the operating system which runs iPhones and Ipads eliminating the issue of compatibility. The software may get powered by an iOS platform or a Windows platform, but the basic remains the same; it is a product of written codes and instructions compiled by an able programmer.
The question may come to many of our reader’s mind “What is the need of Siri?” The virtual assistant initially got launched with the hope of making the lives of its owner easier. The interaction feature of the Siri did the task correctly. When a person talks to Siri, it responds to the person back. The program got designed in such a fabulous way that it does not utter one or two words or respond to some specific words; it was designed in such a way that it can react to its owner in every possible way.
How does Siri works?
The term “Hey Siri” is known to every one of us as a command to wake Siri up. Once a person utters these specific words, the in-built voice recognizer listens for these words and uses another program to authenticate the words whether the words spoken are actually “Hey Siri” and not any other specific words from nearby.
Once the mentioned steps get completed, the assistant wakes up and collect the voice command and convert into a file format which the device understands. The software in question is robust and involves a broad set of compiled codes and instructions; these instructions remain stored in the cloud storage. A cloud is a network of computers accessed by the internet. Once the process of sending the files to the cloud gets completed, Siri will now access the mainframe of Apple computers to come with an appropriate response to that command.
As the software finds an appropriate response to the question, it gets sent to the users Apple device, and Siri tells the answer to its owner.
A new lease of life to AI research:
The entire process was successful because Siri uses Artificial Intelligence as it helps computers and devices do complex tasks without human intervention. The most significant advantage of Artificial Intelligence is it learns more about its owner as it does work on behalf of them which are one of the reasons why Siri gets better in recognizing your voice easier after a few months of usage. The AI program does not only able to develop an idea about its owner’s voice but also his preference, taste, lifestyle, and every aspect of a person’s day to day life. The owner of the Siri’s voice believed to belong to a real person named Susan Bennet. She contributed massively to the program and worked side-by-side with the programmers of Apple to develop Siri.
A few years back when feminism was beginning to peak, many people voiced their concern regarding why the voice of Siri was available in the female voice exclusively. The protestors labeled it as a sexist move where society is not yet ready to accept a woman as a boss but still comfortable as an assistant. Apple faced severe backlash from these organizations fighting for women’s right and to avoid such incidents likes of Amazon and Google both included male and female in their virtual assistant software.
The demand of quality programmers across the country:
The demand for quality programmers are massive across the globe, and many developed countries often get forced to hire programmers other countries as their country fails to deliver. One such country which widely employs skilled programmers across the globe is the United States of America. The quality of programmers produced by the state is not up to the mark and does not possess the skills and efficiency to compile code in spite of providing with the world’s best infrastructure. As most of the leading software companies have their bases in the States, the education department took several steps to produce homegrown programmers to meet the need of the industry.
The department took several progressive measures which were implemented in school level to mold the young minds. A movement originated from Canada a few years back called “learn to code” where people from different age groups participated in an hour-long programming tutorial. Recently, report on Code.org stated that till date, more than 2,700 such events got organized where students, educators, and the general public participated in learning more about programming.
The goal of the movement was to ignite an interest in young minds from primary grade to secondary level in developing coding skills. Every leading association related to the computer science field felt the need to address the situation because they think in the 21st century a lot of unemployment can get reduced if every people possess some necessary skills in programming. The job market problems widely prevalent in the 21st century get presented as a panacea of the code learning movement.
A question may come to our readers mind why promote coding skills instead of some other skills which can directly contribute to the industrial growth. The use of codes in a wide variety of industry is one of the answers to that question. Standing in the 21st century when the redundant jobs are slowly getting eliminated and getting replaced with new posts are rising; a person with proper coding skills may get easily absorbed in the new scenario. A movement which initially labeled as a young generation trend started to attract attention from people of different age groups.
We often come across the position named Data Analyst in our everyday life. The job of a data analyst is crunch numbers for leading Multi-national companies and provides a blueprint about the future condition of the company. People who are unaware about the application of programming may find it hard to believe that data analyst, along with having proper knowledge of statistics, should possess excellent skills when it comes to programming. We are well-aware how well paid these group of people is in every organization.
The “learn to code” initiative:
Let’s not go into professional aspect of the benefits of having coding skills; we live in a digital world, and many problems that we encounter related technical issues of a computer or controlling devices can get solved with some necessary programming skills. The likes of Jeannette Wing often associated coding with development of problem skills.
In the US, the jobs for programmers are steadily decreasing as most of the posts are getting outsourced, but surprisingly, the hype associated with programming is increasing proportionally. The reason why jobs are getting outsourced are many, and one of the widely mentioned ones are a cheaper workforce with more than sufficient skills. The movement such as these will help many people to incorporate requisite skills in programming which will help in finding a job.
On the other hand, the critics of the movement believe that once a large number of people get flooded in the market with quality skills, the employers will not find the need to offer a competitive salary. The other concern which many leading computer science professors expressed, the practice of oversimplifying computer programming implemented by such events may harm the industry.
As most of these events provide an hour-long coding tutorial, such episodic experience may not replicate into excellent coding skills, it may ignite an interest in the minds of people but such events rarely able to produce the knowledge required to develop coding skills. One of the leading Computer science researchers Leon Winslow estimated that it takes roughly about ten years to turn a novice into an expert coder.
The road to expert coder is a long one where the person needs to have a lot of patience, desire to persist and the unquenched hunger to learn; these qualities produce an expert, and no event can do that.
The need for efficient coders will remain functional as stated Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum. He believes with the Fourth industrial revolution just around the corner, information, and efficiency to manipulate that will be a fundamental skill for the workforce to survive in the future.
The “Kid’s Can’t Wait” program from Apple:
Such initiatives may turn the attention of young people towards programming, but the Education Department of the country needs to do the real job. Back in 1982, Steve Jobs lobbied for Computer Equipment Contribution Act to kick start their “Kid’s Can’t Wait” program.
According to the act, corporate firms donating computers to school will get a tax cut of about 25%. His efforts in Washington did not materialize, but his efforts got rewarded in his hometown California when the then government approved the move and companies donating types of equipment to the school, colleges can get a tax benefit of about 25%. The people who supported the bill believed that in spite of being a corporate tax break, it could mend the education gap in the country widely visible.
They felt the need for computer literacy among children would play a leading role in the near future. The scientific education gap between a student from the States and a kid from another country cannot get mended just by the education department but leading tech giants should also play a role in helping them. Recently, leading tech giants like Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft donated a combined amount of around $300 million to the Trump administration to address the worsening situation.
Many critics labeled the move to be an initiative to market their products and devices in the market and may not be the best deal for the students. Back in 2013, Apple planned to give Apple Ipads to the students of the Los Angeles Unified School District at the cost of $1.3 Billion. Later, it was found most of the devices were faulty and incompletely programmed, rendering them completely useless. The fallout opened the Pandora’s Box with FBI intervening, and the tech giant was forced to pay a sum of $6.4million to the school district.
Paul Bogdan is one of the leading names we come across when we talk about computer science in the United States of America. He did his post-graduation in her subject from the University of Southern California. He works as a freelancer these days and receives monitory benefits from organizations that reap benefits from her articles and works.