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Keynote: The programmer's body


What is the only thing that really matters?

We are programmers, and everything in the ideology of our industry is disembodied and virtualised. At the same time we are building the world that the rest of the world, increasingly, will live in.

We are, it seems, sexless selves and disembodied minds in a world that doesn't need our bodies and isn't very interested in them.

And yet: the body remains at the centre of the world, even this supposedly bodiless world. Its disputes and politics, its hurts and controversies, its pains and insults all belong to the body.

Even the fiction and film of this new world of the unbodied are (and always have been) bodily-fixated.

In short, there's no escaping the body.

In this talk, I take examples from history, literature, film, poetry and other fields to show how our present state can be woven into a very ancient pattern, and ask: what should we, as programmers, do about it?

And finally, I make a modest attempt to answer that question.


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