Programmers are having a huge discussion about the unethical and illegal things they’ve been asked to do
Software developers ‘kill people’ Martin argues in that talk that software developers better figure out how to self-regulate themselves and fast.
His point is that in today’s world, everything we do like buying things, making a phone call, driving cars, flying in planes, involves software. And dozens of people have already been killed by faulty software in cars, while hundreds of people have been killed from faulty software during air travel.
“We are killing people,” Martin says. “We did not get into this business to kill people. And this is only getting worse.”
He pointed out that “there are hints” that developers will increasingly face some real heat in the years to come. He cited Volkswagen America’s CEO, Michael Horn, who at first
blamed software engineers for the company’s emissions cheating scandal during a Congressional hearing, claimed the coders had acted on their own “for whatever reason.”
Horn later resigned after US prosecutors accused the company of making this decision at the highest levels and then trying to cover it up.
But Martin pointed out, “The weird thing is, it was software developers who wrote that code. It was us. Some programmers wrote cheating code. Do you think they knew? I think they probably knew.”
“Code I’m Still Ashamed Of.” written by programmer and teacher Bill Sourour