Tech History Is More Than Just ‘White, Male Wizards’

Those of us who have studied the history of technology have likely read a lot about “white, male wizards who magically manufactured digital tools that determine our future,” says NYU Professor Charlton D. McIlwain.

“I [wanted] to tell the powerful story of the black women and men who took their own technological futures in their own hands,” he says. “How black folks from the seventies and beyond pulled themselves up by their technological bootstraps and began to use computers and the Internet to determine our own fates.”

Read the rest of the interview in PCMagazine

The Black Engineers Who Opened Up The Computer Revolution

When the World Wide Web was first being developed, African American software engineers, journalists and entrepreneurs were building search engines, directories, and forums to connect and bring on black web users and communities. In his book Black Software: The Internet and Racial Justice, from the AfroNet to Black Lives Matter, Charlton McIlwain tells the stories of these individuals.  Read more and listen to the accompanying broadcast at Science Friday.







The Police Beat Algorithm & Modern Predictive Policing

Culturally, code exists in a nether zone. We can feel its gnostic effects on our everyday reality, but we rarely see it, and it’s quite inscrutable to non-initiates. (The folks in Silicon Valley like it that way; it helps them self-mythologize as wizards.) We construct top-10 lists for movies, games, TV—pieces of work that shape our souls. But we don’t sit around compiling lists of the world’s most consequential bits of code, even though they arguably inform the zeitgeist just as much.

So Slate decided to do precisely that. To shed light on the software that has tilted the world on its axis, the editors polled computer scientists, software developers, historians, policymakers, and journalists. They were asked to pick: Which pieces of code had a huge influence? Which ones warped our lives? About 75 responded with all sorts of ideas, and Slate has selected 36.

Read My Contribution To This List: The Police Beat Algorithm


Love them or fear them, hackers are the cool kids of the Internet. They’re the ones who know what’s really going on around here, and that makes for a great story. Fictional or factual, tales of digital espionage rarely bore. Check out these books about hackers to get pumped for an all-night coding session, inspire yourself to don the white hat, or just to vicariously enjoy the thrilling tale of a digital daredevil.

I do need to address, as always, that we need more diversity in this little corner of publishing. Hell, we need more diversity in computers period. This list is short on women and short on ethnic diversity, which drives me nuts because coding is awesome and everyone deserves to enjoy it. To make that happen, I strongly encourage you to go check out Girls Who CodeColor<Coded>, and People Of Color In Tech. Code is one of those skills you can 100% learn outside of the educational establishment, so also see my list of coding books for kids. (And adults. Not gonna lie: I own a bunch of those myself and I’m well over 30.)

Let’s go hack it up.

Read the rest of the article at BOOK RIOT