Cybernetic Feedback in the Wizard Mindset

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This is a lossely defined idea at this moment of computers as magic and programmers as wizards.

As I've discussed with Sally Applin and Matthew Lippincott over many breakfasts, the stereotyped idea of a wizard, especially a senior one, is someone with a long beard and a knowledge of many languages. One writes a spell and something jumps from paper to real life. In the same way, a seasoned, bearded programmer with use strange libraries and foreign computer languages to take something from script to action in the real world.

Matthew came up with the idea of cybernetic feedback loops in wizard culture. I discussed the idea of computer programmers being 'edge creatures', as they are characters developed on the edge of social groups. For instance, someone learning mathematics and programming instead of participating in mainstream social activities. Now that programming has become more mainstream, some of them have become central nodes in the social system.

I recorded the morning's conversation on my audio recorder. The discussion of cybernetic feedback happened at 9:47. There will be a transcript of this soon.

Ethnography of Labor in the Software Industry

In The Automatic Production of Space, nigel thrift points put that "there are remarkably few ethnographies of the labor process in the software industry (e.g. orr 1996; Perlow 1997; Downey 1998; O'Riain 2000; Ullman 1997; Kohanski 1998).