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@jmewes jmewes/ Secret
Last active Jun 29, 2017

What would you like to do?
The Social Responsibility of Software Development -- Diomidis Spinellis

What are the social implications of the software I am working on?

  • social networking filters => ?
  • poorly designed user interface => hardship for people
  • highly addictive console game => ?
  • job ad routing => influence disadvantaged groups?
  • new technology and services => disruption => ?
  • mass surveillance programs => ?



  • develop the right software
  • follow current events and discussions
  • study philosophy, sociology, etc.


  • contemplate wider repercussions of current work
  • what if product goes viral or becomes deprecated
  • what if data breach?


  • Work for the right organization
  • Include this criteria in the job search => use talent for good terms
  • help your organization get better
  • bring constructive ideas to the table
  • search solution which is good for everybody: you, organizatin and society


  • learn from people in other domains
  • return to society the education you got from it
  • as educator, include ethics in the curriculum


  • "Strengthen your voice by joining it with the voices of others. Engage with your professional societies to raise awareness of these issues and develop defense and support mechanisms so that your colleagues who speak up aren't left out in the cold. Mingle with people outside your (probably privileged) circle: those who struggle to make ends meet, those affected by your work, and scared underdogs. Write free software that could help our world become a better place. Work with think tanks, civil-society organizations, and political parties to draft and promote sensible policies. Volunteer for office and, it should go without saying, get out and vote!"
  • "Part of being human is making moral choices in everything we do: from the detergent we buy, to the transportation we use to get to work, to the software we develop."

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jmewes commented Jun 29, 2017

Related to this is the talk "Not just code monkeys" from Martin Fowler


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jmewes commented Jun 29, 2017

Responsibilities for software engineers

  • comply with laws
  • clear thinking
  • solve the user's problems
  • high internal software quality
  • focus on technology, be aware of the big picture.
  • come up with pragmatic, feasible solutions, economically viable solutions
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