Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Law as Social Software

I recently read an op-ed by Douglas Rushkoff, Are Jobs Obsolete? . An interesting viewpoint... it strikes me as an clever new paradigm that has little to no chance of becoming widely held in the United States in the near future. (I contend because our electorate is not very clever, by and large.)

I was unfamiliar with Mr. Rushkoff, so I did some searching and discovered this short video of an address he gave at SXSW.

I thought his discussion of legacy software systems running our society was an excellent description of the law which is always lagging behind technological and social innovations (like sexting). In this video he lays out his view that by learning to be programmers people can learn to understand the limitations of the software medium and appreciate the biases of the people who create the software.

I like his suggestion of viewing the law as social software, but on that analogy, only Congress can change the program.

And unfortunately Congress is paralyzed by partisanship and rancor. As well as being asked to deal with complex problems for which there are no easy solutions and therefore no politically palatable solutions, leading to our current state of economic and political crisis, which is what led Mr. Rushkoff to ask if jobs are obsolete.