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How Has Computer Code Shaped Humanity?

How Has Computer Code Shaped Humanity? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

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A Zócalo/Future Tense Event
Moderated by Torie Bosch, Editor, “You Are Not Expected to Understand This”: How 26 Lines of Code Changed the World

Nearly 80 years after engineers programmed the first electronic computers, most of us still regard machines as supremely rational collections of electrical circuits, speaking in binary “1”s and “0”s. It can be easy to forget that software, the digital instructions that tell computers how to do their jobs, springs from the minds of living, breathing people. And these coders imbue their craft with the same impulses, insights, foibles, and failings that have driven human history for centuries. Ultimately, code works (or fails to work) because of the brilliance—or boneheadedness—of the people who write it. How do biases shape software, and ultimately, society? What does ethical programming look like? And how does computer code generate beauty, pain, discovery, love—reflecting and reimagining the very things that make us human?

Tech entrepreneur Nonny de la Peña, author Charlton McIlwain, and internet activist Ethan Zuckerman join Zócalo and Future Tense to ponder human decision-making’s impact on the digital world–and the ways that code, in turn, has impacted humanity.

Zócalo invites our in-person audience to continue the conversation with our speakers and each other at a post-event reception with complimentary small bites by Simply Wholesome and drinks by Oaxacalifornia.

The ASU California Center is inclusive and accessible for all. A platform wheelchair lift is available at our main entrance via Broadway (ground level). Upon checking in for the event, please inform Zócalo staff if you need assistance, or contact events@zocalopublicsquare.org for additional information.

Zócalo Public Square values audience safety. During events at ASU California Center, only clear bags (maximum size 12” x 6” x 12”) and small clutches (maximum size 8 ½” x 5 ½”) are permitted in the venue. Questions? Ask us at events@zocalopublicsquare.org.

ASU California Center
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Los Angeles , CA 90015

The Takeaway

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