Life in Code: A Personal History of Technology – Ellen Ullman
Life in Code: A Personal History of Technology – This program is read by the author. The never-more-necessary return of one of our most vital and eloquent voices on technology and culture, the author of the seminal Close to the Machine.
The last 20 years have brought us the rise of the Internet, the development of artificial intelligence, the ubiquity of once unimaginably powerful computers, and the thorough transformation of our economy and society. Through it all, Ellen Ullman lived and worked inside that rising culture of technology, and in Life in Code she tells the continuing story of the changes it wrought with a unique, expert perspective.
When Ellen Ullman moved to San Francisco in the early 1970s and went on to become a computer programmer, she was joining a small, idealistic, and almost exclusively male cadre that aspired to genuinely change the world. In 1997, Ullman wrote Close to the Machine, the now classic and still definitive account of life as a coder at the birth of what would be a sweeping technological, cultural, and financial revolution.
Twenty years later, the story Ullman recounts is neither one of unbridled triumph nor a nostalgic denial of progress. It is necessarily the story of digital technology’s loss of innocence as it entered the cultural mainstream, and it is a personal reckoning with all that has changed, and so much that hasn’t. Life in Code is an essential audiobook toward our understanding of the last 20 years – and the next 20.
Love the style of the writing and philosophical bent. Many points had me nodding and feeling like she’s telling my story in large part (I, too, have a life in code, and Ellen is my spiritual mentor). I’m not finished with the book I may do a follow-up. But I wish I could give it 5 stars. I have to give it 4 because, well, its a view of programming that’s from a bygone age where the ideal programmer resembles the electrical engineer. Even the term “Software Engineer” (as opposed to “Computer Scientist”) is not really about engineering. Programming is more a liberal art, where survivorship of ideas expressed in code depends largely on a design ethos that puts amenability to change as paramount, not any “single best way” to solve a problem: programming being the first human-computer interaction. I was also saddened to see this myth of meritocracy perpetuated again. There are no meritocracies, only “mirrortocracies”, programming being one of the best examples. The boys (and it’s generally boys, yes) that get ahead mostly come from privilege already. Even Ellen’s own observations point in this direction. But somehow she can’t see it clearly or doesn’t want to write THAT book. I still love her work.
Subscribe Our Feed to receive an ebook everyday!
How to download eBooks: Click Download, wait 5 seconds and Click Skip This Ad to download ebook