Software is everywhere, mediating our cities, our work, our leisure, our loves and our selves. Whether social networks, urban simulations, criminal risk assessment, artificial intelligence or snapchat filters, we interact with it everyday and let it mediate our world. And yet, because they are ultimately based on numbers, software applications have long pretended to be neutral, above any suspicion because of their mechanical, objective nature.


Anything which changes:
  • how we see the world
  • how we interact with the world
  • how we see each other
  • how we interact with each other
is inherently political.

And because of the nature of code (either computer code or legal code), software systems turn out to have striking similarities with political systems, allowing humans what they can and can't do, can and can't say, can and can't know. The closer we will look at a software system, the more we will learn about the nature of the political systems in the midst of which they were developed.


This class combines political philosophy, media studies, and software development. As such, we will read, discuss and code.
  • 2 group projects (first half of the semester)
  • 1 project and a final paper (second half of the semester)
  • Weekly reading responses.


Instructor: Pierre Depaz


Offline: C3-153 (Arts Center)
Online: GitHub