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Software and Politics

Last updated June 23, 2022

“Computers play a fundamental role in making the world — and above all the built structure of the world — alive, humane, ecologically profound, and with a deep living structure”

– Christopher Alexander to a room of

Do Artifacts Have Politics? Yes, they do.

# Politics for Software

Source: Politics for Software Engineers by Steven Buss

“Blockchain voting addresses how to vote in a trust-less society, but a trust-less society cannot have a functioning democracy.” (see: trust)

Potential use of Merkle Trees? (but also, A City is not a Tree)

# Simplicity is more important that provably correct

“I think where most software engineers fail at politics, it’s in understanding that key point. We tend to over engineer our systems and never need to explain the inner workings to anyone who is non-technical. This isn’t restricted to just software engineers, of course. Any sufficiently advanced technology is difficult to explain in terms a non-expert can understand. But we do, at least, understand that we need to tailor the front-end user experience to the target demographic.”

Curious how this ties into the [over simplification of user interfaces](/thoughts/books/mindstorms#Microworlds and simplification)

“Blockchain voting fails at the most basic test of social technology: can you explain how it works to someone skeptical of the people in power in a way that makes them trust the system?”

# Values and Technology

“Technology is the result of human imagination – of human beings envisioning alternatives to the status quo and acting upon the environment with the materials at hand to change the conditions of human and non-human life. As a result of this human activity, all technologies to some degree reflect, and reciprocally affect, human values.” (Friedman and Hendry, 2019)

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