Amelia Winger-Bearskin is a 2019-20 Mozilla Fellow embedded at MIT’s Co-Creation Studio.
When a computer program needs to reference another piece of software, we call that a “dependency.” In software development a dependency is as good as law — better maybe, because one module needs the other in order to run. It literally can’t work otherwise. This means dependencies are effectively a way developers impose some conditions on any application using their work.
But technology doesn’t exist in a vacuum. New technologies can have immense ethical effects. I wondered — what is the ethical analog of a dependency? How can software developers and other technologists make sure their work is deployed in accordance with a certain set of values?
Wampum.codes is my way of exploring that idea. It’s a podcast named after wampum, the craft of weaving beads into patterns that represent contracts and other agreements, and was practiced by my tribe (Seneca-Cayuga Haudenosaunee) for many years. On the show, I interview Native people from my own tribe and many others, who are using technology to share their values with the world.
I interview Native people who are using technology to share their values with the world.
Podcast guests include Native artists, storytellers, filmmakers, organizers, and scientists, all of who are united by their interesting and creative uses of emerging technologies. These conversations highlight ways we can ethically use technology for the benefit of our collective communities. My guests talk about their work, their beliefs, their pets, and more.
I want listeners to feel like they are in the room with us, participating in these discussions as well. And ultimately, the goal is for people to start talking about these issues themselves, among their own communities.
Fans of the show can expect blog posts and infographics synthesizing the collective wisdom from the show’s guests, the first of which will deal with issues raised by the ongoing COVID-19 situation — what the crisis says about our relationship with animals, how listeners can stay physically and emotionally healthy, and what it means to decolonize our response the pandemic.
There are currently seven episodes available immediately, with several more to come. Wampum.codes is available on Apple, Spotify, iHeartRadio and many more. You connect to all podcast feeds here at http://wampum.codes.
Listeners can also look forward to an online panel featuring guests from the show as well as other Native voices. The panel will take place April 28th at noon EST, hosted by MIT’s Co-Creation Studio at MIT Open Documentary Lab <http://opendoclab.mit.edu/> and the International Screen Office.