I'm trying to listen to this podcast (thefutureisbeautiful.co/2018/1) because hey, maybe I don't already have all the answers (I definitely do)

Two Compass (UK centre-left think tank) alumni, talking about "politics with a small p", and empathy and the ignored people.

It's basically FALC-for-women (is that fair? you decide). If you want to know why in less than 90 minutes, follow the link and then go to 35:30 in, when they start to talk about humour. I'm really struggling to continue

I totally lose it at "exactly, exactly, that is the whole point. And, I've been to a couple of laughing workshops-" I just can't keep it together at that point, it's so absurd

I think the reason I kind-of-not-really hate these people is that we're quite similar but different.

Like, software developers and lawyers are both professionals, they have similar kinds of career trajectories, but they have very different perspectives on rules and laws.

These people are living in a hyperconnected global world, like I am, but they're more likely to travel physically than virtually. For them a new idea is a plane ticket away rather than a search term.

@KingMob Could you talk more about your perspective on how sdevs and lawyers view rules and laws differently?

As an aside, I can't blame these people for choosing plane tickets over search terms. Even in 2019 a surprising amount of the internet has contempt for women, and refuses to believe that they use the exact same internet. If you're a woman who wants to be treated like a legitimate human being, it's actually easier to curate your physical environments than online ones.

@Bert agree with your aside, surfing the web isn't a universally pleasant experience

On devs and lawyers, basically for devs, rules are simultaneously unbreakable and totally disposable. Your machine will execute according to what it's told to do, but if a rule isn't getting you the result you want, just get rid of it and write a better one.

Whereas for lawyers, rules are neither unbreakable or disposable. It's a matter of what a judge or jury will or won't buy.

@Bert So for devs, rules are cheap but brittle. For lawyers, rules are expensive but flexible.

Almost like rules are made out of two different materials. For devs it's glass, for lawyers rubber. And to embed the metaphor a little bit, the rules are transparent for developers and more opaque for lawyers.


@Bert And these different experiences of rules filter into what counts as a virtue for the two professions. Having a great memory for old cases and examples is well prized in lawyers, but in the programming world bringing up loads of old programs and systems gets annoying very quickly (at least in my personal experience, a guy who used to be in our team did that a lot and it wasn't helpful to hear about how things were done in the mid 90s)

@Bert I'd say the origins of this difference come from the different rule-processing-machines that the two professions work with. There are billions of computers in the world, and they can all easily process thousands of rules a second. There are only a few thousand courts in the world, and processing rules at a rate of one per second would be very impressive.

@Bert And the thing about rules is that they're always only imperfectly matched with reality. So, when faced with a situation where the rule doesn't make sense any longer, the developer's instinct is to throw away the old rule and create a new one, whereas the lawyer's instinct is to figure out how to interpret the rule in a new way.

In their respective domains, these approaches are usually the right ones. But when in neither domain, there's a high chance of conflict between a lawyer and a dev.

@KingMob That's extremely well put, thank you. I personally think it would be appropriate to start seeing more devs going into politics, because the lawyers are well exceeding their limits on the amount of case law they can digest and need software help to process it anyway.

@KingMob And also because I think allowing *too* much slack between the letter and spirit of the law primarily benefits powerful people with intent of abuse. Winning cases is about being able to afford the best lawyers. And laying the groundwork to win future cases means hiring the best lobbyists.

@KingMob I kind of wonder though if the "two cultures" divide between lawyer "humanities people" and dev "STEM people" is just typical infrastructural propoganda designed to limit the effectiveness of democracy. Putting professions into boxes and making them fight so they can't get anything done. I don't think it's impossible for most people to understand both the physically determined and narrativistically flexible aspects of law and life; it's just culturally improbable for some reason.

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