Bitwise (Hardcover)

A Life in Code

By David Auerbach

Pantheon Books, 9781101871294, 304pp.

Publication Date: August 28, 2018

List Price: 27.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

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 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.


About the Author

DAVID AUERBACH is a writer and software engineer who has worked for Google and Microsoft. His writing has ap-peared in The Times Literary Supplement, MIT Technology Review, The Nation, The Daily Beast, n+1, and Bookforum, among many other publications. He has lectured around the world on technology, literature, philosophy, and stupidity. He lives in New York City.