IT and Society @ GOTO Berlin 2016

December 13, 2016

It seems like 250 years of progress has happened in tech in just the last 25 years! What the hell just happened?

It’s time to take a good look at our tech viewpoint at progress, issues, historical patterns, emerging trends and new developments ahead of us, as technology and society interface us into ‘the new world’. To do just that, we’ve invited leading tech thinkers, movers and shakers from around the globe to come and give practical, philosophical and sometimes controversial commentary and conjecture – drawing from their unique real life experience – and full of insights gained from working and living literally in some of the most interesting and crazy developments right where the action happens.

The IT and Society track at GOTO Berlin 2016 explores, challenges, ponders, questions, proposes and predicts around the question: What is Information technology’s effect on society? Is it always a good thing? What are the lessons learned? And where might we be headed next?

Watch the videos from the IT and Society track at GOTO Berlin 2016 below.


with Jamie Dobson, CEO at Container Solutions

This talk is about how software, particularly open-source software, is not only eating the world but eating capitalism itself – from the inside out.

Last summer I read Paul Mason’s Postcapitalism and thereafter Rifkin’s The Zero Marginal Cost Society. As I did this, and made notes, I came to see that our own open sourced products, such as Mini-Mesos and our ElasticSearch Framework, were threatening to disrupt our commercial competitors.

After thinking more about this, it’s very obvious to see that open source software, and for example 3-D printing, is not only disrupting how we build things but is also undermining the core relationships of capitalism. If the marginal cost of a unit is free and so is its price, then there cannot be any profit. This one relationship undermines the very foundation of capitalism – something that Marx predicted.

This talk looks at capitalism, post capitalism, and as a case study looks at our ElasticSearch framework for Mesos. I give insights into how companies can still stay relevant even when software is free – and I do this by looking at how windmills utterly disrupted landowners in 11th century Yorkshire.

Download the Slides

[bctt tweet=”#Postcapitalism: how #software is eating the world + capitalism itself – @JamieDobson’s @GOTOber slides”]

The effects of IT on democracy

with Kate Gray, Consultant

Are democratic countries engaging more people because of technology – or are vocal minorities gaining more control of the process as a result?

This talk will explore the impact of technology on voters, campaigns, media coverage and outcomes. We’ll look at the use of sophisticated campaign tactics to see if they are changing the nature of campaigns – and if this is getting new voters involved or turning them away.

The US Presidential and local elections will have been decided; the UK EU vote has been announced; countless other democratic elections will have been held.

Are people more committed to democracy today than 30 or 100 years ago – and, what could be next?

Download the Slides

[bctt tweet=”The effects of IT on #democracy- view @grisgraygrau’s slides from @GOTOber 2016″]

Ethics in a Distracted World

with ‎Jeffery Hackert, VP of Engineering at Soylent

Mark Andreeson famously said, ’software is eating the world.’ If it has not yet consumed the planet, it has certainly monopolized our attention. We increasingly prefer to have software mediate our human experiences. Examples abound including: Dating, banking, child and pet care, eating, exercise, and even menstruation. One side effect is that our ability to make ‘personal’, ‘individual’, and potentially ‘ethical’, choices are reduced even as the effectiveness of our decisions increases. The choice to give our un-mediated attention (to a design problem, to our colleagues, to our environment) has become increasingly rare and ever more difficult. The extent of our ability to be present defines the range of ethical choices we can make. In this talk I will move us past empathy and into action that will result in better outcomes for our teams. I will discuss methods to cultivate attention and provide a framework to evaluate our individual ability to make ethical choices.

Download the Slides

[bctt tweet=”View @jchackert’s @GOTOber slides on methods to cultivate attention + make ethical #software choices”]

Open sourcing government

with Anna Shipman, Technical Architect at the Government Digital Service

At the UK’s Government Digital Service, we write most of our code in the open. This has been a huge transformation from the previous government culture and reflects our design principle “make things open, it makes them better”. Open is good, but I wanted to go further and make our code true open source software: supported, maintained and useful for those elsewhere in government, industry and the voluntary sector. At GDS, I started and lead the project to take some of our tools to open source, and this talk will cover that journey.

Attendees of this talk should come away having gained an understanding of:

  • the benefits and challenges of coding in the open
  • the additional challenges involved in maintaining open source software in a work environment and how to address them
  • the benefits of sharing code in the wider society and how our code has been used by those outside GDS and outside government
  • and an insight into the UK’s Government Digital Service

Download the Slides

[bctt tweet=”#Opensource-ing Government – @annashipman shares @gdsteam’s story at @GOTOber”]

The Error of Our Ways

with Kevlin Henney, Independent Consultant, Speaker, Writer and Trainer

What happens when things break? What happens when software fails? We regard it as a normal and personal inconvenience when apps crash or servers become unavailable, but what are the implications beyond the individual user? Is software reliability simply a business decision or does it have economic, social and cultural consequences? What are the moral and practical implications for software developers? And when we talk of ‘systems’, are we part of the ‘system’? What about the bugs on our side of the keyboard? In this talk we will explore examples of failures in software and its application, and how they affect us at different scales, from user to society.

Download the Slides

[bctt tweet=”Error of Our Ways: how #software fails affect us at diff scales – watch @KevlinHenney’s @GOTOber talk”]