We’ve been building autonomous vehicles for about twenty-five years, and now that the technology has become adopted much more broadly and is on the brink of being deployed, our earnest faculty who’ve been looking at it are now really interested in questions like, a car suddenly realizes an emergency, an animal has just jumped out at it. There’s going to be a crash in one second from now. Human nervous system can’t deal with that fast enough. What should the car do?
The largest part of the ENIAC team by far were the people that were actually building the thing. And it’s interesting they’ve been forgotten by history, because although their job titles were wiremen, technicians, and assemblers, being a business historian I looked up the accounting records, and sometimes they spell out the payroll. You suddenly see all these women’s names like Ruth, Jane, Alice, Dorothy, Caroline, Eleanor showing up.
What I believe is that computer science emerged as a science, as a profession, with all the requirements on what professional standards and requirements of what one needed to know to get a job in the field. […] In that period, then, credentials were established, and by the early 70s things had really changed for women, at least in my environment, and most other groups that I’ve talked to about this theory absolutely agree that that was where there was a significant shift.
I think there’s something interesting about a discipline that historically is tied to political intrigue, to secrecy, being linked into this debate over what is good magic or true divine magic, and what is the work of demons. And I think there is something interesting to be said about the moment we are in right now and how states themselves kind of identify and invent existential threats to justify their own behavior.