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A version of this article appears in print on April 17, 2016, on Page MM49 of the with the headline: The Minecraft Generation.

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Politicians and educators have been wringing their hands for years over test scores showing American students falling behind their counterparts in and . How will the stack up against global rivals in innovation? The president and industry groups have called on colleges to graduate 10,000 more engineers a year and 100,000 new teachers with majors in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math. All the Sputnik-like urgency has put classrooms from kindergarten through 12th grade — the pipeline, as they call it — under a microscope. And there are encouraging signs, with surveys showing the number of college freshmen interested in majoring in a STEM field on the rise.

What is the next generation of computing? - Quora

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For one thing, it doesn’t really feel like a game. It’s more like a destination, a technical tool, a cultural scene, or all three put together: a place where kids engineer complex machines, shoot videos of their escapades that they post on YouTube, make art and set up servers, online versions of the game where they can hang out with friends. It’s a world of trial and error and constant discovery, stuffed with byzantine secrets, obscure text commands and hidden recipes. And it runs completely counter to most modern computing trends. Where companies like Apple and Microsoft and Google want our computers to be easy to manipulate — designing point-and-click interfaces under the assumption that it’s best to conceal from the average user how the computer works — Minecraft encourages kids to get under the hood, break things, fix them and turn mooshrooms into random-­number generators. It invites them to tinker.

 

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Arun Jaganathan is a Director at Allied Minds, where he focuses on the life sciences portfolio, including existing subsidiaries and new company formation. Arun’s background includes experience in medical devices, life science tools and drug discovery and development. Prior to joining Allied Minds, Arun was part of the Corporate Strategy team at Boston Scientific, where he was involved in supporting business development and strategic planning efforts, including M&A and white space market opportunity assessments. Arun also has several years of consulting experience – most recently at Fletcher Spaght Inc., where he advised small to mid-cap life sciences companies on their growth strategy. Arun lives in Back Bay with his wife Andrea. In his free time, he is passionate about giving back to the community, including serving at homeless shelters to feed the needy in the Greater Boston Area.

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Jill is the President and CEO of Allied Minds and an Executive Director of the Board. Jill brings more than 25 years of experience as an international business leader, including 16 years as CEO of private and public companies in the technology and information services markets.


What will be the next generation of technology

Since its release seven years ago, Minecraft has become a global sensation, captivating a generation of children. There are over 100 million registered players, and it’s now the third-best-­selling video game in history, after Tetris and Wii Sports. In 2014, Microsoft bought Minecraft — and Mojang, the Swedish game studio behind it — for $2.5 billion.

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In this way, Minecraft culture is a throwback to the heady early days of the digital age. In the late ’70s and ’80s, the arrival of personal computers like the Commodore 64 gave rise to the first generation of kids fluent in computation. They learned to program in Basic, to write software that they swapped excitedly with their peers. It was a playful renaissance that eerily parallels the embrace of Minecraft by today’s youth. As Ian Bogost, a game designer and professor of media studies at Georgia Tech, puts it, Minecraft may well be this generation’s personal computer.

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At a time when even the president is urging kids to learn to code, Minecraft has become a stealth gateway to the fundamentals, and the pleasures, of computer science. Those kids of the ’70s and ’80s grew up to become the architects of our modern digital world, with all its allures and perils. What will the Minecraft generation become?

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“Children,” the social critic Walter Benjamin wrote in 1924, “are particularly fond of haunting any site where things are being visibly worked on. They are irresistibly drawn by the detritus generated by building, gardening, housework, tailoring or carpentry.”