experts to experts conference 12th June 2024, Cluj Innovation Park

Power Structures and their Impact on Software

Code is literally knowledge made manifest, and therefore offers a history of knowledge; it is a record of how people understood a problem over an extended period of time.

But code is also power, and the ability to write/approve/deploy it can be used for ill or good, (intentionally or unintentionally). In so doing, code solidifies power structures; embedding that which is inevitably unequally distributed (unintentionally or intentionally) but embedded all the same.

Code is therefore also a geology (genealogy?) of power structures. Code forms the landscape where records of our old ways of (dis)organising, and ideas that won, continue to shape everything because this code is where teams live now.

We experience this “code-as-knowledge-and-power” every day; our freedom to act restricted or permitted.

In this talk I’ll dissect what is at play here. I’ll consider what is happening with “code-as-knowledge-and-power” and show how to work with it intentionally, instead of suffering/benefitting disproportionately at the hands of it.

Your code, and your life, will be better as a result.

Andrew Harmel-Law

A highly enthusiastic, self-starting and responsible Tech Principal; Andrew specialises in Java / JVM technologies, agile delivery, build tools and automation, and domain driven design. Experienced across the software development lifecycle and in many sectors including government, banking, and eCommerce, what motivates him is the production of large-scale software solutions, fulfilling complex client requirements. He understands that people, tooling, architecture and process all have key roles to play in achieving this. Andrew has a passion for open source software and its communities. He has been interested in and involved with OSS to a greater or lesser extent since his career began; as a user, contributor, expert group member, or paid advocate. Finally, Andrew enjoys sharing his experience as much as possible. This sharing is not only seen in his formal consulting engagements, but also informally through mentoring, blog posts, conferences (speaking and organising), and open sourcing his code.

the developers about computer