Mokitas and software

May 13 2017

Hello fellow listservians!

Today I'm going to introduce you to a word you may not have heard before: mokita.

A mokita is “the truth we all know but agree not to talk about". In English, the concept is maybe best rendered as "the elephant in the room".

Some examples of mokitas in the modern United States:

* Nearly half of our citizens didn't vote, period, for their President.
* The Democratic party, as per policy, scuttled their best populist candidate.
* The Republican party, as per *their* policy, let a probable narcissist and definite political neophyte become their candidate.
* It is cripplingly expensive to get healthcare, especially on short notice, without insurance--and even then, it gets more expensive every year.

I'm not going to rag on politics, though, since that's old news. Let's talk business, specifically software. Let's talk about some mokitas.

I'm a software developer by profession. I don't say software *engineer*, because engineering in most places is a protected term--you have to be accredited, you have to be licensed, you have to have some baseline level of ethics and professionalism.

==> Mokita: Software development is not even close to a mature engineering field, and won't be for a long time. <===

Every day I sit down at a computer writing rules to help automatically turn one set of data (say, sales data) into another (say, profit estimates). I do this by asking questions and writing down special cases. I do this by explaining to my dog what the program is supposed to do and catching myself misstating things. I have spent fifteen years learning how to think about problems in this way.

For this work, you just have to be able to hold a system in your head. You have to be able to say "okay, what if every time I see A, I do B...what happens if I see C instead?". You have to be able to dig and investigate and understand the *why* of something, not just the how.

I'm not a genius. I'm not hard-working. I'm just curious and very careful in what I say.

==> Mokita: Software development is the act of formalizing system rules into a form computers can apply--nothing more. <==

I'm expensive. My hourly rate before my current job was over $150/hr. I not only don't beg for interviews--I expect to be compensated for my time when I'm at them.

All of this, just because I ask questions and explore systems and carefully write what I find so the dumbest creation in existence--the automatic digital computer--can follow along.

This work is all geared towards improving efficiency. To removing waste. My salary (middling as it is for my profession!) is but a small slice of the arbitrage enabled by my creations.

And what I call inefficiency? Waste?

That's what some people call their jobs. What they call their life's work, their reason for getting up in the morning--the thing they take pride in.

Those jobs aren't coming back. Software ate the white-collar job, and robots will take the blue.

We end up with two groups: the tiny tiny descendants of business owners, and the unemployed. The Capital owners and their progeny, and Labor not merely alienated but made superfluous and redundant. What rights, what treatment, should such an underclass expect?

All the value of "post-scarcity" and robots and so on? Those returns won't be shared by Capital--why would they?

==> Mokita: Software developers are eroding the foundations of democracy. <==


In conclusion:

==> Mokita: We don't know how to fix this. <==

If you do, mokitasandquestions (at) tutanota (dot com).

[email protected]

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