Part I : Logo and love : The turtle ; The assembly ; The split ; The join ; The work -- Chat wars : Interop ; Microsoft agonistes ; Code work ; The buffer overflow -- Binaries : Praxis and theory ; Truthtellers ; Is and Os ; On and off ; True and false -- Interlude : Foreign tongues -- Part II : Naming of parts : Labels ; Male and female ; Masterminds and crackpots ; Bitwise and byte foolish -- Self-approximations : The big five (or six) ; Diagnostics and statistics ; Machine psychiatry -- Games computers play : Dungeons and dice ; Deterrence and détente ; The quantified dwarf -- Interlude : Adventures with text -- Part III : Big data : From the client to the cloud ; Hangman ; The library of Babylon ; Descent from the sky -- Programming my child : Initial conditions ; Received ignorance ; The child as network ; Machine and child learning -- Big human : The vacuum cleaner ; Profiles ; Bad labels ; The social graph ; The presentation of self in Internet life -- Epilogue : The reduction of language, the flattening of life
"An 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 languages and codes that captured technologist David Auerbach's imagination. With a philosopher's sense of inquiry, Auerbach recounts his childhood spent drawing ferns with the programming language Logo on the Apple IIe, his adventures in early text-based video games, his education as an engineer, and his contributions to instant messaging technology developed for Microsoft and the servers powering Google's data stores. A lifelong student of the systems that shape our lives--from the psychiatric 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 examination of the inescapable ways in which algorithms 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 machine, Auerbach argues, we willingly erase our nuances and our idiosyncrasies--precisely the things that make us human."--Dust jacket.