Recording by AlterConf - Post Production by Confreaks, LLC
Microagressions, sexism, othering - problems we encounter in society seem to be especially elevated in the IT industry. Can we still thrive in a toxic environment like this? Can we stay our fabulous selves when we are confronted with the fact that tech careers seem not to be designed for us? In this talk I want to tell you my story of working through my internalised misogyny and discover the power of my queer femme caring self. I will also go through the challenges I faced and the communities and networks I found for support. You will learn about some of the fallacies I discovered about having a fulfilling career in tech.
In the tech and digital goods industry, successful products are often those made to be consumed by many, various people. How do we creators know what various people want? Empathy, that's how. This reality makes the skill of empathy powerful and sought after. In fact, EMPATHY is a superpower. Who has empathy in spades? Marginalized folks, that's who! Unable to celebrate our empathy advantage, most of us who are excluded from resources and opportunity have been forced to be empathetic in order to avoid being ostracized, impoverished, assaulted, or killed by those in positions of power. In this talk I explore the buzzword EMPATHY, and examine modern social structures that force the marginalized to be empathetic or die. Within this lens I will refocus a light on the way we can leverage our highly performing powers of empathy to combat those forces of marginalization responsible for the reluctant and conditional advantage of being disadvantaged.
Games which do not focus on power fantasies but instead narrate personal stories are getting more and more recognition. They come in many flavours: some are abstract and open to interpretation, while others are extremely specific and do not mind that not everyone will be able to relate. What they do have in common is that in each of them, the developers open up and show their vulnerabilities. But what are the benefits and struggles of using videogames to talk about possibly mundane moments in life? For example, should the creator give the player agency in a linear story about someone else’s experiences, and if not, how does one make the game engaging? This talk will look at the different ways creators provoke empathy in players, using games as medium for self-care and communication.
Creating a safe space sounds easy and straightforward: all people feel immediately welcome, truly respected and genuinely valued. Some say we can only create “Safer Spaces”, which are safer than society in general, but still not safe for everyone. My experience paints exactly the same picture: There are no safe spaces! Some of us have to be prepared to be attacked at all times for traits we cannot influence - even when surrounding with other oppressed people. Let’s talk about civilisation - that mysterious conglomerate of conventions, role models, habits, stereotypes and fairy-tales - that forges our identities. Let’s talk about biases we all are carrying around. Let’s talk about how to make spaces - as our offices, conferences, meetups or family meetings - as safe as possible.
If data is food for your brain, black-box recommendation algorithms are restaurants that serve food for free and won't tell you what is in the stew. To sort through content online, given the short attention span most of us suffer from, we need new tools that give us control and agency over the content we expose ourselves to. We need to decide what goes in the stew, even if we are not the ones cooking and serving it. In this talk, we will discuss the recipes for a DIY recommendation algorithm and its implication from business model to ethics, in a world where we don't all know how to cook, but we do believe in the benefits of a balanced diet.
I have selective mutism, so I spend part of my life mute. Until recently, it only affected me some days and was not a problem. Recently it became prolonged and stronger, causing me to not be able to talk at all with people. This causes all kinds of interesting problems at work, ranging from the inability to say 'hi' to co-workers, to how I'll attend a meeting and provide input. Text To Speech software to the rescue! Turns out, this is a lot harder than you would expect. While my co-workers are accepting, they often forget. It also turns out that conversations have a lot of complicated rules that you wouldn't be aware of. Although that doesn't matter if the software for the meeting doesn't provide accessibility.
This is an autobiographical talk about my journey in the tech industry: from Brazil to Ireland and from male to female. I had seen the industry from many perspectives and I will discuss the changes that this implied in my professional life as a Software engineer. I will discuss the transphobia in Brazil and the lack of job opportunities for Trans individuals. How Latinxs and immigrant workers are perceived in the Irish tech scene and the difference between the job market in Europe and Latin America.
Mental health is something that will affect most of us. The tech industry is high-paced and high pressure, and this means that we may be leaving some developers to struggle. This talk will examine touchpoints such as standups, code review and timesheets and think about ways that they could cause difficulty. We will think about how we can make them easier to navigate so that developers can get back doing to what they do best.
As maintainers and contributors, it is our job to make the experience of contributing enjoyable and worth the effort. We'll look at codes of conduct, GitHub issues, language and small impactful changes we can do to make your project more accessible.
Small businesses can be vehicles for achieving a multitude of social as well as economic goals, but running your own company sounds like something that takes up your entire life. It doesn’t have to be this way. During this talk you will hear how it’s possible to have a work-life balance, a huge degree of freedom and achieve ambitious goals as long as you stick to certain principles.
Twitter bots, outside of the realm of branded auto-follow hashtag spam boredom, are a fascinating world of pointless art-generating machines, whether they’re writing poetry/fiction/news, impersonating people/animals/inanimate objects, automating popular memes to death, glitching and corrupting images in a hundred different ways, wasting the time of reactionary basement-dwellers or telling a single, monotone joke for all eternity. I want to give you a tour through some of the most interesting and important ones, delve into the issues of etiquette, ethics and politics that the art of botmaking has surfaced, and show you how easy it is to make your own.