offered no shortage of . Headlines flashed across our screens and feeds daily – 4.8 million cars recalled, 675 American Airlines flights canceled, 450,000 women miss breast cancer screenings due to bug, etc. If you’ve been following the Software for some time, you’ll recognize these stories as, unfortunately, being “the same old, same old”. We hate that these glitches occur, their effects range from the inconvenient to the truly horrifying, but in the end…is anyone really surprised? If you pay attention to technology on the world scale, you’ll have come to expect these headlines by now.

What caught our attention in Q2 were the “political bugs”. We’re not necessarily talking about as government (though that is a part of it), but rather, as the all-knowing Wikipedia defines it, “the process of making decisions that apply to members of a group.”

Everything we do – ranging from how we act as individuals within a society, or a company, or a family – involves politics and policies. At the same time, society, as a whole, has become inescapably digitized.

That means that we should have figured out how to leverage digital technology to support, assist, and improve our primary political systems, right? Um…not so much. Many of the governing bodies and fundamental institutions that our society relies on (healthcare, law enforcement, etc.) have failed to effectively and efficiently leverage technology in their favor.

This creates a disconnect between the needs and goals of an organization, and the results they are actually able to deliver to the people they aim to serve. As this thoughtful Gizmodo article points out,

“Despite being more necessary than ever, digital literacy hasn’t permeated deeply into the folds of the government. As we’ve seen, public servants often lack the expertise to know how to critique and test technology, and return poorly designed or faulty technology for improvement. The solution isn’t teaching civil servants how to code but instead teaching what kinds of digital tools and products are usable, and what expectations they should have from a product so we can avoid failures like the IRS website. It’s not just a software problem but an understanding problem.”

An understanding problem. If you don’t understand something, it’s hard to “make [good] decisions that apply to members of a group.” This is where the intersection of politics and digitization gets really, really messy.

There were several bugs in Q2 that highlighted this fact.


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