Rambles around computer science

Diverting trains of thought, wasting precious time

Mon, 17 Jan 2022

De-escalating the submission backlog

About two and a half years ago, I submitted a two-page abstract entitled “De-escalating software: counterproductivity versus conviviality” to the conference on History and Philosophy of Computation (HaPoC), proposing a talk the philosophy of Ivan Illich interpreted in the domain of software. I had already given a couple of experimental talks about it that appeared to be well-received. The idea was to push myself into developing these ideas a bit more, as a waypoint to eventually publishing them. The conference, in late October 2019 in Bergamo, would have been a nice stopover on my return (by surface travel) from SPLASH in Athens.

A couple of months later, the day the notification was due, I woke up very early in the morning in a panic, having slept very poorly. I was feeling overwhelmed by my workload and I knew that I could not deal with the extra burden of my talk being accepted. I ran downstairs and sent an apologetic e-mail asking to withdraw the submission. I've no idea whether my talk was to be accepted or not, but either way I am very glad for the chair's understanding response.

You can read the abstract here. I would still like to write more about software and Illich. As well as the two earlier talks I gave in 2019 (neither was recorded, sadly, but you can view the slides on my talks page), I was also a guest on the Hope in Source podcast by Henry Zhu and Nadia Eghbal where we shared some thoughts on Illich. It is proving very difficult to get time to devote to this. Perhaps it is something best done intensively at a retreat.

(I have at least three other pieces of writing that are in a fairly similar state. And I have dozens of blog posts that are “90% finished”—where the remaining 90% is left to do, of course.)

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