Can there be ethic coding nowadays?

I am a coder. I live in a state that recently took the direction of USA in terms of doing what Snowdens revealed: mass surveillance and automated opinion tagging on the public space.

The question is can we code and look ourselves in a mirror every morning without disgust?

I have taken part in ethical coding of big brothers tools for call-centers.

Do I feel proud? I should not care according to my peers.

Well, I have been searching for jobs recently and what I am proposed is very often revolving about the same topics:
  • surveillance of work hours and profitability of the employee with poor or no respect of legal obligations of employers;
  • profiling for marketing (can also be used for mass surveillance);
  • automated troll caving of any aggressive persons on a forum (because disagreeing is a sign of being bad, m'okay?);
  • Xross Site Tagging of internet users;
  • frameworks development for doing all of the above.

(I do insist there are some  good job offers in the flow of crap)

Of course, since I am supposed to be a bitter old coding troll I miraculously have been an ethical coder. I could say I chose to be a virtuous ethical coder.

I am not. I want to have hot water, heating and some place I call my own. I need to feed my family and rent a place that in a 30 km center around this place require an healthy 60k€/year. So being a mover will not make it.

Is it ethical to let my family in misery because I have principles? Well, at least it looks cool. That's how to be a flamboyant looser. I actually did not chose. I am just socially inept. That is who I am and I am okay with it.

But since I am a blatant troll I prefer for the fun to victimize and point a finger by asking a question:

Are unethical coding topic the only one that brings value to the share holders?

Well, could banks, VC, government make of coding a good use?

Green energy?

A vast joke: max electric power on the grid is required when no wind nor sun provides energy and we do not know how to store efficiently with a reasonable safety and costs. And battery production is resource bound. Green energies are just a mirage. Power demand is constantly going up (notably thanks to e-commerce and computers), while power production grows less. We may face in the coming decades power blackout in the G20 countries. But X said the opposite and he has figures.... Let me doubt it.

Automated tax collection to avoid fiscal inequity?

Garbage In, Garbage Out : fucked laws make fucked up rules that are un-codable.

Privacy to avoid surveillance?

On this one I am a convinced lutherian; if you do not need to commit a crime you need no privacy and if you fear your government, well going down in the street might prove more useful than writing code. Even for talking. Internet is not the place to foment a revolution. It is a nice place for mocking the world, though.

Multi purpose robots?

The industrial revolution based on automation have always resulted in removing from the market the economical actors that were not granted the money from their bank to buy automats resulting in a winner take all scheme while the poorest sunk in misery and the middle sized actors enter a spiral of taking series of immoral loans from the bank. Like a modern peasant in France. Capitalism centric economy are anti-liberal and results in more concentration.


Profiling always has the best intentions at heart and poor production. Even the best coders forget the law of using filters: filter have false positive and false negative. There will always be people that are wrongfully tagged «positive» and you will always miss some of your target. Efficient filters are based on the acceptable costs of failure. Marketing can fail, it is okay. Counter-terrorism based on profiling is a very stupid idea. And maybe it is better to remove the roots of dissatisfaction from a society (discrimination, inequity, poverty) than to spend money on detecting the person that are dissatisfied. Especially that Europe is not very far from electing people like Trump, Putin or Erdogan in the next years. You want to explain to someone like Erdogan that he might wrongfully ruin the life of thousands of people while he has a solid list of 10 times bigger accurate opponents being known? Please show me how Erdogan, Putin care about the costs of false positive with a profiling that catches 90% opponents accurately. Remember in Europa a growing number of future president/PM will tend to be Trump/Putin/Erdogan like. Just think about it. Yes, we can also prevent Vascular Accident alike. Or improve medical diagnostic, that requires ... a lot of centralized information. This is a double edged sword and I don't think our society is mature enough for radical transparency. We all wanked, and who is okay for having it officially known? The problem is the christian culture of guilt here. I am a convinced guiltless atheist on this one.

3D printing?

Hum, much more interesting. In fact no. KPEX is not the only problem, you have also the OPEX and quality control to see there. We are back to the multi-purpose robots. It covers also topics such as home automation, grid optimization...

What can we do with computers that is interesting then? 

Well, an apple is an apple and so is a banana.

Do all the fresh products from a country needs to physically go to a centralized market to then be moved again near their production region?

In 2016, an apple may have to do a 2000km hook to be provided in the market near you. Stupefying.

But actually, it requires no computers, just that producers and consumers see their interest in having a decentralized market and putting in common efforts on logistics. And also ... funding. But, well is it in the interest of people who have the funds to disrupt the market if they benefit from the situation?

If your bank have the account of one of the great distributor will they give you money to potentially make them be poorer? Especially that you might want to incentivize your stake holders by giving more return hence resulting in thinning your assets on your bank account? Capitalism do not favor neither competition, nor liberalism.

So according to the desperate person trying to find me an opportunity as a coder that would be happy with me taking hot showers and offering a decent place to my wife, I have to put some water in my wine and to silence myself in front of my future employers.  They do not need to know.

Either I live by the rules or will live miserable with my ethic, because, that is not how the world works. (I have no ethics, just a big mouth to be honest).

The problem, is I know what I am doing. And I do know that the one who as the money makes the rules, and I have work force and knowledge and no capitals. And there are other coders with the same knowledge on the market.

I am not pleased that 90% of coding offers are related to unethical purposes.  I am not pleased people point finger at me as a coder for it. I am not part of the problem.

It is not me who is unethical. It is the society in which I live that consistently consider we should not voice our concerns because else we may call an evil such as Trump, Le Pen, UKIP, Putin... ruling the country. I will not let fear rule my life.

My blog is critic and people might think: shut it down, it makes you lose opportunity what are you searching for? A hot place to live in or feeling proud of yourself when you wake up?

Well, I have only one life on earth. I will not endure a life of moral pain hoping to be rewarded in the afterlife. I take this life to live plainly my life as a full human being living happily ever after even if it requires a little more efforts than just abiding to the rules blindly.

I am no sheep, I have a spine, and can carry a project to its end thanks to this and that is why I can make interesting code. That is the price to pay. No spine, no interesting code.

And yes, I am concerned when reading my thousands of job offers per week about the use made of the global pool or coders. We are clearly using coding in a more than questionable way. But, once again, chacun sa graisse and this in not mine, me I still want to take hot shower, and am satisfied to have a wife that prefers me when I am who I am.

She loves me this way and that is contributing a lot to my happiness and I just live without questioning myself that much, pretending to be ethical, while I am just socially inept with a big mouth. And to be honest: I don't care about what can happen tomorrow.

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