Bitwise: A Life in Code

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6An exhilarating, elegant memoir and a significant polemic on how computers and algorithms shape our understanding of the world and of who we are

Bitwise is a wondrous ode to the computer lan-guages and codes that captured technologist David Auerbach's imagination. With a philoso-pher's sense of inquiry, Auerbach recounts his childhood spent drawing ferns with the pro-gramming language Logo on the Apple IIe, his adventures in early text-based video games, his education as an engineer, and his contribu-tions to instant messaging technology devel-oped for Microsoft and the servers powering Google's data stores. A lifelong student of the systems that shape our lives--from the psy-chiatric taxonomy of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual to how Facebook tracks and profiles its users--Auerbach reflects on how he has experienced the algorithms that taxonomize human speech, knowledge, and behavior and that compel us to do the same.

Into this exquisitely crafted, wide-ranging memoir of a life spent with code, Auerbach has woven an eye-opening and searing examina-tion of the inescapable ways in which algo-rithms have both standardized and coarsened our lives. As we engineer ever more intricate technology to translate our experiences and narrow the gap that divides us from the ma-chine, Auerbach argues, we willingly erase our nuances and our idiosyncrasies--precisely the things that make us human.

Pantheon Books