While American kids love to play video games, the former head of the United States Air Force Cyber Command frets that a lack of interest in learning to write the code underlying those games is a threat to national security.
In a report for The Daily Beast author Douglas Rushkoff writes:
[General Elder] has no problem attracting recruits ready to operate robots or fly drones... Hell, they love playing videogames already. His problem is finding high-school graduates with any experience or interest in actually programming all this stuff. Unless something changes radically, Elder told me, the United States will be surpassed in cyberskills within a single generation. The best of our kids design videogames; the Indians, Chinese, and Russians' kids write the code on which those games run.
How could this be? It's because in America we don't value programming. We think of it like bricklaying, farming, or any other seemingly menial skill. We ship our networking jobs to India, China, and other formerly Third World nations...
Rushkoff indirectly points the finger of blame at America's IP enforcement, which discourages tinkering - and thus learning about - digital technology:
In a computing marketplace where altering one's iPhone will "brick" its functionality and where user improvement to programs is treated as an intellectual-property violation, it's no wonder we have adopted the attitude that our technology is finished and inviolable from the minute it has been purchased. Just clicking on "agree" during installation says as much.