When I talk about being a "software engineer," I do so intentionally, to put the patina of engineering ethics on discussing what I do. I do my absolute best to design and build ethical systems.

One of the things that bothers me in a visceral way is that most people aren't software engineers, they are, to create an artificial nuance, software developers. They build and design systems without codifying the ethics to express the core values of humankind in them.

You see this a lot with web developers and app developers, especially in the start-up space, and ESPECIALLY in the financial application space, trying to build MVPs that wow share holders by how lean they can make their monetized Skinner box.

It is my working opinion that this is a non-trivial component to how we ended up with an internet and computing ecosystems that largely serve the greater evils of capitalism.

Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.

@voltur I haven’t read much of it yet, but I know there’s a lot of great literature out there that discusses the historical intersection between the production of technology, early computing, behaviorism as a new form of power and control, the rise of statistics and econometrics as a “new science”, the formation of the “business prediction class”, and of course capitalism, which explains how we got to the current state of affairs. There’s a growing field of critical technology studies (or critical internet studies) dissecting this stuff.

@voltur The short of it is that the “I just want to code” developer mindset is ripe for exploitation by businesses who are incentivized by shareholder and venture capital obligations to predate on and abuse the general public through the production of technology in the form of apps and websites.

Software and other knowledge workers have an obligation to become aware of the political, social, and ethical dimensions of their work and to think about the systems of power they reinforce.

@voltur It doesn’t help that there is a ton of money to be made as an individual by just shutting up and coding. People can justify turning a blind eye to all kinds of things.

@vortex_egg @voltur I actually think that the "I just want to code" mindset is bad for even the venture capital funded places. It spreads into "works on my machine" attitudes and in my view is toxic as hell.

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Elekk: Gameing and Other Delightful Pursuits

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