Tech Mate – Autistic influence on a tech generation, from the ‘little professors’ to Silicon Valley
Kingston University, London
National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) Studentship
Supervisor: Professor Scott Wilson
In a world increasingly dominated by algorithms, smart tech, AI, big data and quantum computing, there is an increasing awareness amongst tech companies of the unique abilities and contributions that autistic coders and engineers can make in these areas. After spending two years researching the influence of autism on tech culture, it is apparent that autism functions as both a socio-cultural signifier, which is performed by and attributed to ‘techies’ who demonstrate certain character traits, and as an official diagnosis, which often has a greater impact on both the autistic employee and the company. However, many employees who have received a ‘corporate diagnosis’ have gone on to obtain an official adult diagnosis, blurring the lines of these two groups.
My research will look at the nature of the relationship between autism and technology from the position of the autistic coders, those that consider themselves to be ‘on the spectrum’ and the tech companies who employ them.