The Great Man theory of social progress or art or anything is inherently colonialist and supports kyrarchy. It's a persistent idea in western culture and apparently nothing in a typical CS education ever challenges this. Computers are either invented by a series of great men or they exist in some sort of end-of-history eternal present. RMS is a great man. Therefore any toxicity in his actions is overlookable and toxicity in his defenders is at worst just over exuberance or at best necessary and therefore good.

I'm picking on CS here, but its hardly unique. I've been teaching a course this year that specifically invokes this model of history in the official design documents.

@celesteh
I sometimes feel that education specialises too soon. Being Scottish we could have up to 7 different subjects per year that got us our highers, 1 year courses. If we wanted to progress further (in theory to catch up to A levels) we had a 6th year studies cert. It meant we could study a breadth of subjects. You could study history, a science, language, and mix and match others. Whereas I gather in England and Wales at the time due to the 2 year lengths you could only study a couple.

@onepict Given how everything becomes more technical and complex, phenomenon of early specialisation is quite natural. One must understand the existing to dig deeper into the unknown.

@joyager

I dunno if I agree with this, all problems are not solvable by increasing specialization. I meam, many are, its obviously effective but if everyone is trained to see the world through the lens of breaking the unknown down into tinier and tinier pieces it is going to create major blindspots.

This kind of approach rarely understands "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts" phenomena since people only think about the parts.

@onepict

@Alonealastalovedalongthe There is no one solution to anything. It just happens right now the society need specialists and so the "education" do its best to produce them. It surely comes with a cost of increased ignorance and missing out the big picture for many people; but it's not obvious to me how it could be otherwise. @onepict

@joyager

"it's not obvious to me how it could be otherwise."

Of course it isn't obvious, we were raised with those same blindspots!

Neoliberal, late-stage capitalist societies for the most part only reward extreme specialization of experts as more wholistic understandings would threaten the dominance of these unequal hierarchies.

Exhibit A: social issues like racism, inequality, environmentalism, indigenous & lgtbq people's rights when understood as unconnected become unsolvable

@onepict

@joyager @onepict

Exhibit B: the massive amount of wasted brainpower poured into programming unethical and pointless software and the seeming lack of awareness of some incredibly intelligent programmers as to basic aspects of the ethics of their work. I.E. all the programmers who could run circles around me in many mental aspects but somehow believe an algorithm can be magically unbiased because a computer is running it.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Mastodon for Tech Folks

This Mastodon instance is for people interested in technology. Discussions aren't limited to technology, because tech folks shouldn't be limited to technology either!