Software as Discourse: The Power of Intellectual Property in Digital Architecture
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We’ve been reading lately some interesting articles on ‘Software Philosophy’. We wanted to share with you some remarkable quotes:
The quintessential element of discourse, of language, of speech, in this information society is (soft)ware. As we know, software is now a key part of our social structure–we sense it in our cars, in our supermarkets, in our televisions, in our computers–we sense it everywhere; it is a ubiquitous, undulating, architectural, air-like, water-like commodity that infiltrates our daily lives. More interesting is that software, through its various forms of (coded) structure, can act to construct meaning and identity much the same way as we understand speech can do. Software in the information society is discourse. It is not simply a literary text (a copyright law categorization); it is fundamental to communicative architecture. The fierce debate over open code versus proprietary code software is intimately connected with this construction of identity through software.
If a software engineer has the tools to fully or partially construct discourse and identity in the digital world, then the principles of law that mediate power relations (especially those between individuals, often described as private as opposed to public law) need to mediate such a construction process; otherwise, technological determinism will see me as simply another cyborg programmed to mediocrity and slavery. Laws that will play an important role in this process are laws that will govern the construction of this new discourse known as software.
Software as Discourse: The Power of Intellectual Property in Digital Architecture, Fitzgerald Brian