Understanding coders has never been Chad Email Address more important. One of the distinctive developments of the past 20 years is that coders are now the people running companies. The people in charge of making really important decisions. That shape our politics our economy and much of our everyday lives. Those decisions have been enormously lucrative but have also led to an enormous amount of skepticism. The value of the work that coders do. Although there are surely people in Silicon Valley who still see technology. The way to a brighter freer more connected future. The double edged nature of technology and of the Internet specifically should be obvious. Thus the importance of Thompson’s book is that it helps us understand in a deep sense the world coders inhabit. It’s a world in which efficiency is often seen as a paramount goal.
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And it’s a world in which the issues that gulf email list matter most have been practical ones — did these lines of code accomplish the task they’re supposed to accomplish? It’s also a relatively homogeneous world: predominantly male, predominantly young, and overwhelmingly white and Asian. And Coders does an excellent job of illuminating. How that homogeneity shapes the choices the group makes and the innovations they produce. It isn’t just that so many startup ideas of the past few years seem targeted to solve the problems of young single men. Who basically want someone to feed them and clean up after them. It’s also more subtly that a lot of the coders Thompson writes about seem imbued. With a certain naivete about or perhaps indifference to social dynamics and the way that power differentials affect behavior.
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Convinced that connecting people was, in and of itself, a good thing, companies such as Facebook ignored the dangers of connection: negative feedback loops, abuse and harassment, social contagion, and the potential for exploitation by malicious actors. (Thompson posits that had women or people of color played a bigger role in devising social media protocols, protections against abuse and harassment would have been far more robust from the start.) And, of course, the fact that playing to people’s worst impulses is a reliable traffic driver gave these companies an added incentive to look past the bad behavior they were facilitating. If the largest tech companies are serious about changing, then, an easy place to start would be to diversify their workforce, both in terms of demographics and in terms of training.