Coders

The New York Times on Clive Thompson’s book, Coders – a look at why engineers and designers do not foresee the dark ways their products would be used:

Because deeply introverted people were drawn to coding, they did not prioritize positive human interactions. A community that indulges thoughts of anarchy was wary of adding any guardrails to the programs and products it produced.

When dealing with an algorithm that can be built for one and scaled to billions, those idiosyncratic foibles matter a lot. A few individuals’ blind spots mean a massive, world-changing system has those same blind spots. Remember that Instagram had 13 employees when Facebook bought it. WhatsApp had 55.

April 7, 2019