The Coding Prometheus is Blind – Socio-Technological Imaginaries on GitHub


Emilian Franco

Year: 2022

Interculture journal : Online-Zeitschrift für interkulturelle Studien

Keywords: socio-technological imaginaries, GitHub-culture, trajectorism, future
Language(s): English

While cultural sciences are increasingly concerned with the effects of algorithmic systems on society, the production of algorithms remains an opaque field. Yet this process happens freely and accessibly on Open Source (OS) platforms such as GitHub. This paper exa- mines the future imaginations of developers on GitHub, as relayed in qualitative inter- views. Although GitHub sees itself as a diverse space, only two strong „socio-technological imaginaries“ (Jasanoff 2016) may be identified: The ‘greater good’ and the ‘Manichean good vs. bad’ imaginary. The imagined futures are populated by ever better technology. This techno-optimism is combined with a hierarchical order on GitHub, from which individual developers emerge as ‘Benevolent Dictators for Life’. They control and protect algorithmic developments, in case of doubt even against the ‘bad’. The result is an image of the future that continues the development of technology in a non-disruptive way.

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