Nuances for Engineering Social Change

Nuances for Engineering Social Change

A marathon 1-hour keynote for the folks at NATEG Days 2019. Slides can be a bit sparse, so we've got a Midas parable, then a tie-in to Society 5.0 (one of the conference's themes), then a bunch of lessons I've learned to stay productive and keep learning.

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Mahmoud Hashemi

July 31, 2019
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Transcript

  1. NATEG Days 2019 1

  2. Once Upon A Time... 2

  3. 3 Midas Face Reconstruction from Skull, 2016 https://www.flickr.com/photos/66082566@N00/25383664534

  4. 4 Midas Face Reconstruction from Skull, 2016 https://www.flickr.com/photos/66082566@N00/25383664534

  5. 5

  6. 6

  7. 7

  8. 8

  9. Be Careful What You Wish For... 9

  10. 10

  11. 11 The World’s First Coin White Gold (Electrum) Lydia, 600BC

  12. 12 Was King Midas Responsible for the World’s First ICO?

  13. Wish Better. Build Better. 13

  14. Nuances to Engineer Social Change Mahmoud Hashemi NATEG Days 2019

  15. Why Social Change? 15

  16. 16

  17. 17

  18. 18

  19. 19

  20. Present-Day Values 20

  21. 21 SCALE

  22. 22 Consistency

  23. 23 Concentration

  24. 24 Workforce Flexibility

  25. 25 Environmental extraction

  26. Current Values ▪ Scale ▪ Consistency ▪ Concentration ▪ Workforce

    Flexibility ▪ Environmental Extraction 26
  27. Antipatterns of The Future

  28. We Can’t Take Anymore The values of the last two

    centuries have stretched beyond their limits. 28
  29. 29 ?

  30. 30

  31. 31

  32. 32

  33. https://www8.cao.go.jp/cstp/kihonkeikaku/5basicplan_en.pdf

  34. 34

  35. Antipatterns of The Future

  36. Economies of Scale We’re focusing too much on efficiency. 36

  37. None
  38. None
  39. (USA)

  40. Value Creation At all scales, down to the individual level.

    40
  41. Uniformity We’re missing opportunities for local optimization. 41

  42. None
  43. None
  44. Monoculture & Gros Michel

  45. Celebrate Individuality Diversification at all levels makes for a more

    robust and more humane society. 45
  46. Concentration Wealth and power centralization isn’t giving us the leverage

    we need. 46
  47. None
  48. None
  49. Distribute & Decentralize Investing in local actors seeds the most

    opportunities for growth. 49
  50. Vulnerability Commoditizing workers and citizens harms both consumption and creation.

    50
  51. None
  52. None
  53. Build Resilience & Robustness Optimize for creation and creator quality

    of life. 53
  54. Environmental Exploitation We’re long overdue on the mortgage we’ve taken

    out on our environment. 54
  55. Live Sustainably Solar, clean nuclear, carbon negative, whatever. Short-term price

    < long-term cost. 55
  56. New Values ▪ Create Value ▪ Promote Diversity ▪ Distribute

    and Decentralize ▪ Build Resilience ▪ Establish Sustainability 56
  57. New Values, New Metrics If you treasure it, measure it.

    57
  58. Metrics, Old & New ▪ Old ◦ GDP ◦ Unemployment

    % ◦ Stock market price ▪ New ◦ Labor force participation ◦ Underemployment ◦ Affordability ◦ Wage growth ◦ Stress levels ◦ Life expectancy ◦ Personal, professional, environmental health 58
  59. No Silver Bullet ▪ Long-term ◦ Find (or create) better

    institutions to serve ◦ Help change the metrics in the public sphere ◦ Hold industry accountable to its debt to society ▪ Short-term ◦ Take what creative work you can get ◦ Just start and work hard ◦ Build community ▪ Right now ◦ Learn to be the best you can be 59
  60. Engineer Social Change Better technology can lead to a better

    society* * If done carefully 60
  61. But How? 61

  62. None
  63. None
  64. “Specialize, then generalize.” - Hany Moustapha 64

  65. +

  66. Be the Best You Can Be Focus on: ▪ Solid

    fundamentals ▪ Growth and longevity ▪ Opportunities around you 66
  67. Strong Fundamentals ▪ Don’t follow every fad ◦ That’s a

    good way to get burned out ▪ Look for tried-and-true technologies ◦ C ◦ SQL ◦ POSIX ◦ Python ▪ Still waters run deep ◦ Deep knowledge of mature technologies only grows more valuable. 67
  68. “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year

    and underestimate what they can do in ten years.” - Billy G 68 Long-Term Growth
  69. Watch for Opportunities ▪ Big and small ▪ PayPal ◦

    University talk ▪ Wikipedia ◦ Random hackathon ◦ Old friend of a college roommate ▪ Speaking ◦ Started a local meetup 69
  70. The Creativity Gradient 70 How do you ensure you’re continuously

    creating? Consume Critique Curate (NB: look up Sisyphus) Create
  71. Managing Yourself Ask: ▪ What are your strengths? ◦ StrengthsQuest,

    YouMap ▪ How do you learn? ◦ Reading, writing, talking ▪ What are your values? ◦ Who do you respect and why? Answer these for yourself, then your collaborators, then find where you belong. 71
  72. Finding Where You Belong 72

  73. I I Vs. Schoolwork 73 Work-Work ▪ No professors or

    TAs ▪ Managers != teachers ▪ No guarantee of possibility ▪ No taking the B+
  74. 74 “The first 90% of the project accounts for the

    first 90% of development time. The last 10% of the project accounts for the other 90% of development time.” — Tom Cargill, Bell Labs The Rule
  75. I I Vs. Business 75 Technology ▪ Few technology businesses

    are driven by technology ▪ How many big names rely on pushing the state of the art? ▪ Instead, engineers are usually problem solvers ▪ Just part of the larger business context
  76. I I Vs. Research 76 Development ▪ Unpredictable vs. Predictable

    ▪ Definitely Unmanageable vs. Probably Unmanageable ▪ Art vs. Craft
  77. I I Vs. Systems 77 Applications ▪ Low-level vs. High-level

    ▪ Automation-facing vs. Human-facing ▪ Primitives vs. Products ▪ Technically rewarding vs. Materially rewarding ▪ Slower-moving vs. Faster-moving ▪ Consider also: enterprise vs consumer (B2B vs B2C)
  78. I I Vs. Money & Power 78 RESPECT ▪ Money

    != Power ▪ Power != Respect ▪ Don’t forget your values
  79. Engineering Social Change ▪ Know yourself (and your team) ◦

    What are your strengths? ◦ How do you learn? ◦ What are your values? ▪ Work on yourself (and your team) ◦ Fundamentals ◦ Long-term growth ◦ Watch for opportunities ◦ Climb that Creativity Gradient ▪ Find where you make the biggest impact ◦ Business ↔ Technology ◦ Research ↔ Development ◦ Systems ↔ Applications ◦ Enterprise ↔ Consumer 79
  80. Thanks! Find me at: github.com/mahmoud twitter.com/mhashemi yak.party mahmoud@hatnote.com sedimental.org 80