on the mindset of coders

Kieran has linked to a very interesting set of remarks at the SASE conference by Maciej Cegłowski about the mentality of computer programmers. A few choice clips:

But as anyone who’s worked with tech people knows, this intellectual background can also lead to arrogance. People who excel at software design become convinced that they have a unique ability to understand any kind of system at all, from first principles, without prior training, thanks to their superior powers of analysis. Success in the artificially constructed world of software design promotes a dangerous confidence.

About the economy of collecting information:

Surveillance capitalism has some of the features of a zero-sum game. The actual value of the data collected is not clear, but it is definitely an advantage to collect more than your rivals do. Because human beings develop an immune response to new forms of tracking and manipulation, the only way to stay successful is to keep finding novel ways to peer into people’s private lives. And because much of the surveillance economy is funded by speculators, there is an incentive to try flashy things that will capture the speculators’ imagination, and attract their money.

This creates a ratcheting effect where the behavior of ever more people is tracked ever more closely, and the collected information retained, in the hopes that further dollars can be squeezed out of it.

Read the whole thing.

50+ chapters of grad skool advice goodness: Grad Skool Rulz ($2!!!!)/From Black Power/Party in the Street 


Written by fabiorojas

July 6, 2016 at 12:32 am

3 Responses

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  1. Incisive! But they seem to come not from Kieran Healy, but from Maciej Cegłowski, another panelist…



    July 6, 2016 at 3:34 am

  2. Thanks for catching the error. Duly noted.



    July 6, 2016 at 12:47 pm

  3. Myself a career convert from IT function to academia. And I concur to the 1st comment. I still observe the same tendency among friends and peers who are still in IT. Probably they have got into habit of coding, simplifying and developing SOP around everything that they see. I was of the same opinion, till I started reading some amazing articles like garbage can theory, institutional entrepreneurship etc.


    Santosh Sali

    July 6, 2016 at 2:01 pm

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