Some of the team here at Shoeboxed had the great pleasure of attending the Australian Computer Society‘s NSW Symposium earlier this month. The big highlight for us was the keynote address during dinner, ‘Present at the Creation: Reflections on the Responses to Computer Law Reform’, given by The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG.
After reminiscing with stories about the early days of computing and the ACS, Mr Kirby brought our attention back to the challenges of present by stating simply, “There’s work to do.”
As technologists, there are big issues ahead of us – privacy and new technologies, the intersection of human happiness, the law and new modes of communication and distribution, and diversity.
Mr Kirby looked out at the attendees in the ballroom and made the observation that it was a primarily male and Australian demographic, which isn’t the case in law. Using his experience with the law, he thinks that diversity matters, the background of people involved in a field or industry matter simply because the “values in determine the values out”. When there is a homogeneous majority in any field, the output addresses issues the majority can more relate to. And our fields touch all sections of the society, so the onus is on us – those already in the industry – to ensure that we have people representing our diversity as a population so that the input, the problems and issues we look at solving, inform our output.
This really resonated with the members of the Shoeboxed team present. We take pride in the diversity of our team, with close to a 50-50 male-female ratio, as well as team members from very different walks of life. And Michael Kirby’s words weren’t only encouraging, but also strengthened our own commitment to diversity.