[At-Large] On techies versus politicians

bzs at theworld.com bzs at theworld.com
Thu Sep 15 18:04:14 UTC 2016

On September 15, 2016 at 13:30 evan at telly.org (Evan Leibovitch) wrote:
 > From a Facebook post by Andrea Glorioso (unedited):
 >     The problem with engineer-like folks trying to do politics is that most of
 >     them don't understand that emotions are often more powerful than facts, and
 >     that they are simply not as relevant for the the person they are debating
 >     with, or as powerful in the grand scheme of things, as they think.
 >     If I had a dime for every "techie" who won the battle of showing he knew
 >     more than his counterpart, just to lose the war of actually getting the
 >     long-term result s/he wanted, I'd be reasonably well-off (some techies do
 >     understand politics - some.)

This borders on offensive and self-aggrandizing stereotyping.

One doesn't have to spend a lot of time at ICANN meetings etc to pick
up on the anti-old-guard/techie sentiments by the non-techie policy
wonks, lawyers, etc.

It's not shocking they find people who might actually understand how a
lot of this works threatening and want to minimize their
participation.  At any meeting or forum they may get publicly humbled
in a sentence or two amounting to "that's impossible, it doesn't even
work that way, not at all".

They don't get that scrutiny from their fellow non-technical wonks who
tend to agree that making PI exactly 3 would be easier to remember
(who could argue? common sense!), do we have a second?  All in favor?

When someone dismisses the competence of a group with as broad a term
as "engineer-like" that person should be shut down.

This type of thinking marks one as a dinosaur.

The world is changing around them, fast. The technical tide is rising
and any separation of technical and political is fading.

No doubt it is scary to those who can't keep up and their inclination
is to wish it away by discrediting those who do understand it.

Increasingly we live in a world where:

1. Business and trade live on blockchains and increasingly "automatic
contracts" and all that implies. And often implemented by neural nets.

2. Technology has democratized and globalized crime and espionage to
such an extent that we rely on technology not policy to combat it. No
one disagrees that crimes are involved, or only rarely.

3. Internet protocol specs have human rights implications and need to
be evaluated in that light. There's an entire IETF research group
devoted to this, I follow it.

4. Issues such as "net neutrality" get so tangled in the technical
realities of what that means that most policy makers speak utter
nonsense about it trying desparately to make it fit into their mental

5. Individual empowerment on the internet for billions of people
revolves around not so much what everyone has a "right" to do or not,
that's of some importance of course, but rather how one, specifically,
one might achieve that beyond mouthing a few audience-pleasing

6. Nation-state censorship and cyber-oppression can be enabled or
thwarted not only by policy which often no one has much say over but a
myriad of technologies such as VPNs, alternate infrastructures (e.g.,
alt roots), and encryption techniques.

The above comment mirrors broad swaths on why women shouldn't be given
the vote (too emotional!) or similar.

        -Barry Shein

Software Tool & Die    | bzs at TheWorld.com             | http://www.TheWorld.com
Purveyors to the Trade | Voice: +1 617-STD-WRLD       | 800-THE-WRLD
The World: Since 1989  | A Public Information Utility | *oo*

More information about the At-Large mailing list