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
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