Robots, Code and Stuff

FAKE GRIMLOCK is my new favorite reading (along with The Bloggess and xkcd), because what he says makes a lot of sense. It also drips with sarcasm, awesomeness and blood. Many technology luminaries (like Eric Ries, Brad Feld, Fred Wilson and CNN) have noticed that FAKE GRIMLOCK carves through all the cream and gets straight to the coffee.

FAKE GRIMLOCK connects code and effect in a way reminiscent of Latour’s ‘Where are the Missing Masses, sociology of a few mundane objects’. Latour’s call has become a slogan for the need to reinsert the matter or ‘stuff’ of science and society back into a social constructivist STS or sociology [1]. Code is an object and objects shape us as much as we shape them.

We are changing society right here – punching code through the walls of the world. But all too often the vision is just personal or commercial success.

“STARTUP IS MAKE FIST OF CODE, PUT IT THROUGH THE WORLD. VISION IS PUT FIST IN RIGHT PLACE, BREAK WORLD IN HALF.”

Roadblocks of gender, race and class are still huge. Sometimes technological advancement is just making bigger roadblocks. Startup philosophy, which emphasizes the individual, is often powerless before huge areas of fail. We aren’t all giant robot dinosaurs and sometimes we don’t share the same visions. For example, feminism is a great conversation killer, because not a lot has changed in last 50 years. Seriously – this 1991 MIT report by Ellen Spertus is still accurate. That’s depressing. It’s great to celebrate awesome women engineers and ceos, but important to point out the systematic obstacles women face in the tech and startup worlds.

Fake Grimlock’s irresistible awesome is up against some pretty immoveable objects, but at least reading @fakegrimlock makes me feel like a raging fury in a good way.

1. Latour, Bruno 1992. Where are the missing masses, sociology of a few mundane artefacts application/pdf icon In Shaping Technology-Building Society. Studies in Sociotechnical Change, Wiebe Bijker and John Law (editors), MIT Press, Cambridge Mass. pp. 225-259, 1992 [new expanded and revised version of article (35). Republication in the reader Johnson, Deborah J., and Jameson M Wetmore, eds. Technology and Society, Building Our Sociotechnical Future. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2008 pp. 151-180]

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