Culture Hacking: Trying to Write Human Software that Uplifts People into the Technology Sector

Directly behind the green light and walk sign that you see in this picture is a sharp contrast, the gold encrusted dome of the Georgia Capitol and a set of homeless people. They sit with suitcases on the concrete barrier of the Georgia Capitol front yard.  I am here at Java Monkey before the open mic night for Atlanta poets, thinking about what to write in this blog entry summarizing what I have learned so far after my first week at The Iron Yard’s iOS software development course.  I took this photograph on my drive from The Iron Yard to Java Monkey.  I’m thinking on this topic with the idea that human beings write code for other human beings to use.  This may see elementary, but the human dimension of software coding so far, seems to me to be the most complex aspect of this technical pursuit.  Companies write software for particular applications, for particular target audiences, with a very specific set of intentions.  The demographics of the software development community is predominantly Caucasian males from family backgrounds of high socio-economic status.  Due to the dominance of technology in our modern society, people who code the popular software we use day to day, write the laws for how specific functions of our society operate.  If the laws are written well, the society functions well.  If they are written poorly, the society functions poorly.  To me, homelessness in direct proximity of the Georgia Capitol points to poorly written educational laws.  What if I could write laws in the form of human software that could improve the lives of people like those sleeping on the steps of the Capitol?  If it is successful, it would certainly be of benefit to the larger society.  I am going to use my practical day to day experiences at The Iron Yard to write this “human software”.  My hope is that by detailing simple things, I will achieve the greater goal.  It’s simple to measure the success of this software, successful code is smiles on all of my classmates faces.

We are talking about silly things like this:

if confusedClassmate == true {

stopMyWork()

}

func stopMyWork() {

smileAtConfusedClassmateAndOfferHelp()

}

I am going to have to sit down and think about how to write these functions, so stay tuned to the next blog post for more code.  Culture hacking is hacking of the human mind.  We write in proper Swift code, directions for the humans in the “ideal” Iron Yard boot camp to follow.  Because this code blog is a simple student’s blog and not the teacher these are not instructions.  Rather, they are postulates that can be edited to suit the needs of the entire group.  Culture hacking is like real software hacking, but we are hacking the human mind instead of that of a machine.

 

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About kayaerbil

I am a Berkeley educated chemistry Ph.D. who is moving into the area of working on developing appropriate technology for communities that are subjected to socio-economic oppression. The goal is to use simple and effective designs to empower people to live better lives. Currently, I am working with Native Americans on Pine Ridge, the Lakota reservation in South Dakota. I am working with a Native owned and run solar energy company. We are currently working on building a compressed earth block (CEB) house that showcases many of the technologies that the company has developed. The CEB house is made of locally derived resources, earth from the reservation. The blocks are naturally thermally insulating, keeping the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Eventually, a solar air heater and photovoltaic panels will be installed into the house to power the home and keep it warm, while preserving the house off the grid. A side project while in Pine Ridge is a solar computer. I hope to learn about blockchain encryption software for building microgrids. In addition, it is an immediate interest of mine to involve local youth in technology education.
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