The Hacking Matrix

It seems IEEE Spectrum has taken the interesting step of creating their own version of New York Magazine’s Approval Matrix. Unlike the original, this one does not include tasteless movies, incredible opera performances or good books. Instead, it focuses on hacks. Additionally, it has multiple layers for “good”, “bad”, and “neutral” — to denote the various moralities at play. Also, bear in mind that all of the hacks listed above are subjects which Spectrum has covered in articles — it does not claim to be a list of all prominent hacks. While I think this has great potential to be a really cool idea, in my opinion, it’s got some flaws:

  • the “good, bad, neutral” is too explicit and restrictive — “white hat, black hat, and grey hat” would be more appropriate because it takes into account the intentions of the hackers, rather than just how they might be perceived by people who don’t have all the information.
  • The CHDK is in the wrong quadrant. It should be in the upper-right. CHDK represents a significant amount of difficult work by a significant number of people, and it’s been used in so many other hacks it has become ubiquitous.
  • Likewise, Kinect hacks should be there too.
  • Stuxnet belongs way, way off to the right beyond the ‘innovative’ boundary.
  • “Chiptunes” should be split into two categories “Chiptunes” and “Demoscene”, with Demoscene being in high innovation territory.
  • TI vs. Calculator Hackers should be split into “Calculator Hackers” and “TI’s reaction to calculator hackers.” Calculator Hackers go somewhere in “innovative” and “medium impact” and characterized as between “neutral” and “good”, while “TI’s reaction” falls into the simple, high-impact, and “bad” category, to reflect it’s nature as a blunt instrument.
  • Facebook Hackathon — srsly?
  • “Hacking Honeybees” should be rated higher on impact, healthy bees having been a critical part of human agriculture for thousands of years.
  • It should be 3-D, with the Z-axis being the “morality” axis, because everything is better in 3-D, and morality is not discrete.

Well, those are my thoughts. What do you think? Check out the original here, and post up in the comments!

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1 Comment

  1. "morality is not discrete".

    True or False?………. Or "sorta"?

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