Friends @ Home Author Webinar | Torie Bosch Discusses ‘You Are Not Expected to Understand This’

June 28, 2023 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
A recording of this talk is now available to view here!

Few of us give much thought to computer code or how it comes to be. The very word “code” makes it sound immutable or even inevitable. “You Are Not Expected to Understand This” demonstrates that, far from being preordained, computer code is the result of very human decisions, ones we all live with when we use social media, take photos, drive our cars, and engage in a host of other activities.

Everything from law enforcement to space exploration relies on code written by people who, at the time, made choices and assumptions that would have long-lasting, profound implications for society. Torie Bosch brings together many of today’s leading technology experts to provide new perspectives on the code that shapes our lives. Contributors discuss a host of topics, such as how university databases were programmed long ago to accept only two genders, what the person who programmed the very first pop-up ad was thinking at the time, the first computer worm, the Bitcoin white paper, and perhaps the most famous seven words in Unix history: “You are not expected to understand this.”

Torie Bosch is the First Opinion editor at STAT. She was previously the editor of Future Tense, a collaboration between Slate magazine, Arizona State University, and New America that covers the intersection of technology, policy, and society. She also founded State of Mind, a Slate-ASU partnership dedicated to mental health, and was a lecturer and editor in residence at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. She is the editor of “You Are Not Expected to Understand This: How 26 Lines of Code Changed the World.”

Torie will be joined in this conversation by one of the essay contributors to the book, David Cassel. David has been writing about technology for more than 25 years, with articles appearing everywhere from CNN and the Wall Street Journal’s site to popular tech news sites like Wired, Gizmodo, and Salon. Since 2015 he’s also been a contributing writer for The New Stack, covering the culture of technology (and ways it intersects the broader popular culture), while also dabbling in computer programming and app development.