The people who build systems unconsciously or consciously affect the culture we live in. Their unique world view, cultural quirks, and beliefs will inevitably seep into the systems they build. These systems then become ways to export the creators culture to others.

Example: games that fetishises women – think Lara Croft. As with all craftspersons, game developers design and build what they themselves want. And given a lot of these game developers are males of a certain age… How will this affect our culture’s perception of women?

On a consciously planned large scale, we have localisation efforts to make software like Windows work appropriately for the different cultures on this planet. These, however, seem largely to be based around language translation; with some associated requisite changes to the interface to support languages that go from right to left.

Because Windows is an American invention, it is unavoidably suffused with American cultural concepts. These subtle memes and contexts for perceiving and working with ideas cannot be easily identified or removed. How does this impact non-American cultures?

It will be interesting to see how the open source movement do localisation. By its nature, open source software (like OpenOffice) probably tends to be more global in their development than proprietary software (like Microsoft Office). Does this mean we see a more egalitarian representation of global cultural subtleties within open source software?

Addendum: Business leaders are system builders too. Their world view infuses the organisations their create and manage. And their organisations exports this world view to the world.