The Critical Engineering manifesto

Appreciated @anonymous7. Some comments of mine on this

  1. The Critical Engineer considers any technology depended upon to be both a challenge and a threat. The greater the dependence on a technology the greater the need to study and expose its inner workings, regardless of ownership or legal provision.
  1. The Critical Engineer raises awareness that with each technological advance our techno-political literacy is challenged.

I’m fond of the way in which they seek to integrate engineering with the social context. I think engineers (particularly software engineers) like to feel themselves as distant from the far-reaching consequences of their inventions.

  1. The Critical Engineer looks beyond the “awe of implementation” to determine methods of influence and their specific effects.

Exactly. The general public is amazed at what tech does because it really looks like magic, as Arthur C. Clarke says:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

And if the critical engineers don’t bother taking it apart and exposing it, how can we expect people to outraged??

  1. The Critical Engineer looks to the history of art, architecture, activism, philosophy and invention and finds exemplary works of Critical Engineering. Strategies, ideas and agendas from these disciplines will be adopted, re-purposed and deployed.

Yes! Ideas in computer science have been around long before computer science. They make it look like it’s always shiny new things when in fact it’s just something that has been invented before but in a different scale. By studying these other subjects we can understand the nature of a lot of technologies and where they fail.