In his new book, “Coders,” the longtime Wired magazine writer Clive Thompson works to describe those humans and exactly what their hands do. With an anthropologist’s eye, he outlines their different personality traits, their history and cultural touchstones. He explores how they live, what motivates them and what they fight about. By breaking down what the actual work of coding looks like — often pretty simple, rote, done in teams rather than by loner geniuses — he removes the mystery and brings it into the legible world for the rest of us to debate. Human beings and their foibles are the reason the internet is how it is — for better and often, as this book shows, for worse.
Facebook’s business model is built on capturing as much of our attention as possible to encourage people to create and share more information about who they are and who they want to be. We pay for Facebook with our data and our attention, and by either measure it doesn’t come cheap.