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"Science fiction operates a little bit like science itself, in principle. You've got thousands of people exploring ideas, putting forth their own hypotheses. Most of them are dead wrong; a few stand the test of time; everything looks kind of quaint in hind"
- Peter Watts

Coder  
  Specialized humans who excel at engineering tasks.  

"Trnsctn s vr," the Coder whirred. Rail shook his head. "More."

The Coder remained still. It was impossible to tell what his reaction was. His whole body was encased in an interlocking exoskeleton like chitin on a beetle, and his features were hidden by a full face helmet of smooth black. Two bulbous, blank eyes glowed pale blue from within. There was a circular grille on his thin chest where his voice came from, flat and mechanical. "Vry wll," he said and continued counting out chits.

...

Coders were mechanics, whose purpose was to understand the fingerprints of the deity in circuitry and the interlocking of a gear or a cog. They could always be relied on to buy technology like a glimmer visor. Rail was selling his now, to make extra money for their passage up-Artery towards the centre of Orokos.

...

"Stsfd?" the Coder asked. Coder language was tricky to follow as they didn't use vowels, but Rail had enough experience so the half spoken words were clear enough. He scooped up the chits into a bag. "That'll do fine."

From Storm Thief, by Chris Wooding.
Published by Scholastic in 2006
Additional resources -

Compare to admin gnomes from John Varley's excellent 1983 novel Millenium.

Thanks as always to Connor Lawrence for contributing the text quote and reference for this item.

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  More Ideas and Technology from Storm Thief
  More Ideas and Technology by Chris Wooding
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