As you know (or may not know), I recently put a question out on LinkedIn to test how their "Answers" section works, what kind of answers you could expect to receive, etc. My first experiment was positive - I got 21 thoughtful answers and created dialog with several who participated. But one answer in particular got me thinking - it was not the one I chose as "best" - but he answered within the spirit of the question, here it is...
Well maybe he has a point. I know some of us have a problem programming the VCR (but like many things, that's really not a problem anymore, VCRs are quickly going they way of the dinosaurs). But what if programming becomes a common as creating your own presentations (remember when that little skill was reserved for few select people in your company). Or doing some financial analysis with a spreadsheet. Or how about running reports, creating a database, developing a project plan, I could go on, but you get the point.
What if the tools used to program something where easy to use. I'm not saying Ruby On Rails is that platform - it has some interesting capabilities and is getting lots of press. But from my standpoint, using RoR is still the domain of programmers (and I think they like it that way).
So here's the deal. If we all become programmers, where's the value of "programming" (you can make parallels to design or writing or whatever). Is it in the code? Is it in the process of programming? Is it in the design of the program? Is it in the planning? I don't really know, I just know that at some point in the future, there will tools that any of us could use to program - at the point, the "value" changes from the physical act to something else.