Monthly Archives: February 2019

John Boyd pegged the problem with technologists perfectly

I was listening to the sometimes great Hanselminutes podcast while working and sadly his “Algorithms of Oppression” interview came on. Put broadly it was about how how algorithmic bias can “shape the world”. It was terrible and it occurred to me that while every good technology podcast interview is good in a different way, every bad technology podcast interview is bad in the same way, namely the interviewee talks about their personal opinions on something, sometimes named as

  1. “their worldview”
  2. “the way the world really works”
  3. “the big picture

I’m reminded of John Boyd’s notion (paraphrased) “You must eventually choose to do something or to be someone, but not both”. To be notable in technology one has chosen to do something and when they talk about themselves (i.e. the way in which they “are someone”) their forced to talk about themselves (or worldview/paradigm/etc) and it comes up very lacking.