Audrey Tang

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Audrey Tang
唐鳳
Audrey Tang in 2015 (cropped).jpg
Minister without Portfolio
Assumed office
1 October 2016
PremierLin Chuan
William Lai
Su Tseng-chang
Personal details
Born18 April 1981 (1981-04-18) (age 39)
NationalityTaiwanese
Political partyIndependent
Audrey Tang
Traditional Chinese唐鳳
Simplified Chinese唐凤

Audrey Tang (born 18 April 1981; formerly known as Autrijus Tang, Chinese: 唐宗漢 Táng Zōnghàn) is a Taiwanese free software programmer and Taiwan's Digital Minister, who has been described as one of the "ten greats of Taiwanese computing personalities".[1] In August 2016, they were invited to join the Taiwan Executive Yuan as a minister without portfolio, making them the first transgender, non-binary official in the top executive cabinet.[2][3][4] Tang has identified as "post-gender" and accepts "whatever pronoun people want to describe [them] with online."[5]

Biography[edit]

Tang's parents are Tang Kuang-hua and Lee Ya-ching.[6] Tang was a child prodigy reading works of classical literature before the age of five, advanced mathematics before six, and programming before 8,[7] and they began to learn Perl at age 12.[8] Two years later, they dropped out of junior high school, unable to adapt to student life.[1] By the year 2000, at the age of 19, Tang had already held positions in software companies, and worked in California's Silicon Valley as an entrepreneur.[8]

In late 2005, Tang began transitioning to female, including changing their English and Chinese names, citing a need to reconcile their outward appearance with their self-image.[9] In 2017, Tang said, "I've been shutting reality off and lived almost exclusively on the net for many years, because my brain knows for sure that I am a woman, but the social expectations demand otherwise".[10] In 2019, Tang has identified as "post-gender" or non-binary, responding to a request for their pronouns with: "What’s important here is not which pronouns you use, but the experience...about those pronouns.... I’m not just non-binary. I’m really whatever, so do whatever."[3][4]

The television news channel ETToday reported that they have an IQ of 180.[1] They have been a vocal proponent for autodidacticism.[11] and individualist anarchism.[8]

Free software contributions[edit]

Tang initiated and led the Pugs project, a joint effort from the Haskell and Perl communities to implement the Perl 6 language;[12] they have also made contributions to internationalization and localization efforts for several Free Software programs, including SVK (a version-control software written in Perl for which they also wrote a large portion of the code), Request Tracker, and Slash, created Ethercalc[13] building on Dan Bricklin's work on WikiCalc and their work together on SocialCalc, as well as heading Traditional Chinese translation efforts for various open source-related books.[1][8]

On CPAN, Tang initiated over 100 Perl projects between June 2001 and July 2006, including the popular Perl Archive Toolkit (PAR), a cross-platform packaging and deployment tool for Perl 5.[14] They are also responsible for setting up smoke test and digital signature systems for CPAN.[15] In October 2005, they were a speaker at O'Reilly Media's European Open Source Convention in Amsterdam.[16]

Political career[edit]

Tang became involved in politics during Taiwan's 2014 Sunflower Student Movement demonstrations, in which Tang volunteered to help the protesters occupying the Taiwanese parliament building broadcast their message. The prime minister invited Tang to build media literacy curriculum for Taiwan's schools, which was implemented in late 2017. Following this work, Tang was appointed minister without portfolio for digital affairs[17] in the Lin Chuan cabinet in August 2016. They took office as the "Digital Minister" on October 1, and were placed in charge of helping government agencies communicate policy goals and managing information published by the government, both via digital means.[18][19] At age 35, Tang was the youngest minister without portfolio in Taiwanese history[20] and was given this role to bridge the gap between the older and younger generations.[21]

While as a conservative anarchist, Tang ultimately desires the abolition of Taiwan and all states, they justify working for the state by the opportunity it affords to promote worthwhile ends. Tang's conservatism stems from wanting to preserve free public spaces independent from the state, such as Internet properties, and wanting technological advances to be applied humanistically, so that all can reap its benefits rather than a few, to the exclusion of others.[17] Tang's department does not follow hierarchical or bureaucratic relationships. As of 2017, Tang's staff of 15 chose to work in the department. The group produces a weekly roadmap as collaborators, not orders.[22] Tang was quoted as saying, "My existence is not to become a minister for a certain group, nor to broadcast government propaganda. Instead, it is to become a "channel" to allow greater combinations of intelligence and strength to come together."[23]

Tang's first initiative, the g0v project, involved swapping out the "o" for a zero in the government's ".gov.tw" top-level domain to view more accessible and interactive versions of those governmental websites. The project was open source, in-line with Tang's principles, and very popular, as accessed millions of times each month. Another initiative, vTaiwan, uses social media paradigms for citizens to create digital petitions. Those with 5,000 signatories are brought to the Premier and government ministries to be addressed. Changes implemented through this system include access to income tax software for non-Windows computers, and changes to cancer treatment regulations. The Taiwanese parliament complained that citizens had better access to influence regulation than they did as legislators.[17] As of 2017, Tang was working on sharing economy software that would facilitate the free exchange of resources in abundance instead of the ride-sharing and peer hotel applications for which the technology is known.[22]

As a general practice of "radical transparency", all of Tang's meetings are recorded, transcribed, and uploaded on a public website. Tang also publicly responds to questions sent through another website.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Chen, Chun-ming (2006-02-08). "別叫我「先生」! 電腦怪傑唐宗漢變性 改名唐鳳 (Don't call me "Mister"! Tang Zonghan changes sex, name now Tang Feng)" (in Chinese). Eastern Television. Archived from the original on 2006-10-19. Retrieved 2007-03-22.
  2. ^ "PROFILE: Audrey Tang: 100% made in Taiwan - Taipei Times". www.taipeitimes.com. 2016-08-28. Archived from the original on 2016-08-28. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
  3. ^ a b Glauert, Rik (2018-11-29). "What you didn't know about the world's first non-binary minister". Gay Star News. Archived from the original on 2020-07-28. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  4. ^ a b "Interview with Mia Hunt". Archived from the original on 2020-07-28.
  5. ^ "Audrey Tang is radically transparent". Dumbo Feather. Archived from the original on 2020-09-19. Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  6. ^ Chung, Jake (28 August 2016). "PROFILE: Audrey Tang: 100% made in Taiwan". Taipei Times. Archived from the original on 28 August 2016. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  7. ^ TING-FANG, CHENG; LI, LAULY; IHARA, KENSAKU. "Taiwan digital minister warns of China's 5G 'Trojan horse'". asia.nikkei.com. Nikkei. Archived from the original on 15 July 2020. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  8. ^ a b c d Li, Hsin-ru (2000-06-28). "專題報導 : 尋找台灣自由軟體力量 (Special Report: Searching for the power of Taiwanese free software)". CNet Taiwan). Archived from the original on 2006-08-31. Retrieved 2007-03-22.
  9. ^ "Audrey Tang's Blog: Runtime Typecasting". December 2005. Archived from the original on 1 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-04.
  10. ^ Audrey, "鳳" Archived 2007-07-01 at the Wayback Machine "Phoenix", 1 February 2017
  11. ^ Chen, Bo-nian (2000-06-28). "平淡中見絢爤-李雅卿的教改之路 (Lee Ya-Ching's road toward educational reform)". Epoch Taiwan). Archived from the original on 2004-01-15. Retrieved 2007-04-16.
  12. ^ "A Plan for Pugs". O'Reilly Media. 2005-03-03. Archived from the original on 2012-09-08. Retrieved 2007-03-22.
  13. ^ "Ethercalc.net". Archived from the original on 2020-09-09. Retrieved 2020-09-19.
  14. ^ "Author page for autrijus". CPAN. Archived from the original on 2013-12-28. Retrieved 2007-03-22.
  15. ^ "Becoming a CPAN Tester with CPANPLUS". O'Reilly Media. 2002-04-30. Archived from the original on 2012-09-07. Retrieved 2011-01-27.
  16. ^ "Perl Internationalization and Haskell: an interview with Autrijus Tang". O'Reilly Media. 2005-09-08. Archived from the original on 31 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-23.
  17. ^ a b c d Ronel, Asaf (July 17, 2017). "The anarchist minister from the future who's redefining democracy". Haaretz. Archived from the original on February 23, 2019. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  18. ^ Lin, Milly; Tai, Ya-chen; Huang, Chiao-wen; Chang, S.C. (25 August 2016). "Young minister a bold attempt to solve government problems". Central News Agency. Archived from the original on 26 August 2016. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  19. ^ Hsiao, Alison (26 August 2016). "Programming expert to join Executive Yuan". Taipei Times. Archived from the original on 26 August 2016. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  20. ^ Lin, Luang-sen; Chung, Jake (2 February 2017). "Wellington Koo and wife, Audrey Tang report assets". Taipei Times. Archived from the original on 1 February 2017. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  21. ^ James Wang, ″Generation Gap a factor for Blue and Green Camps″ Archived 2017-02-03 at the Wayback Machine, ″Taipei Times″, 1 February 2017
  22. ^ a b Jennings, Ralph (May 9, 2017). "She's young, transgender and an anarchist, and is leading Taiwan's drive to become a digital powerhouse". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on May 20, 2020. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  23. ^ The China Post News staff, ″Cabinet to appoint minister to steer open gov't initiative″, "The China Post″, Retrieved 1 February 2017 Archived 1 October 2017 at the Wayback Machine

Publications[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]