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RS 233 - Clive Thompson on "The culture of coding, and how it’s changing the world"

Release date: May 13th, 2019

Clive Thompson

Technology writer Clive Thompson discusses his latest book, "Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World". Topics Clive and Julia cover include:

  • Why coders love efficiency so much
  • Are there downsides to efficiency?
  • Do coders have particular blindspots when it comes to human nature?
  • What is a "10x Coder," and why do people disagree about whether they exist?
  • Does Clive still agree with his older book, "Smarter Than You Think," which argued that technology is making us smarter?


"Coders: The Making of a New Tribe and the Remaking of the World" by Clive Thompson

"Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better" by Clive Thompson

"The Real World of Technology" by Ursula Franklin

"The Great Code: The Bible and Literature" by Northup Frye

Edited by Brent Silk

Music by Miracles of Modern Science

Full Transcripts 

Reader Comments (7)

Never heard of smelly code. I heard of spaghetti code, which sounds a lot nicer than it is.

Coding should be humbling, because it's impossible to code without introducing bugs. And debugging can be a sort of scientific process of hypothesizing the cause of the error and coming up with ways to test it.

The guest's book is criticized on Amazon for stereotyping, race-baiting, etc.
May 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMax
Windows 98 definitely had some seriously putrid code in it.

Why not label well written code as "sweet", as in "That's some sweet code, dude!"?

Uber had a positive effect in breaking the taxi cartel, improving service, and lowering cost. People that previously bought into the taxi cartel can still find pathways to the middle class w/o having to manipulate the market, and w/o abusing consumers. Uber may not even last, since as of yet it has no earnings, but its innovation had a definite positive effect.

Perhaps the anti social but extremely talented coders can just stay at home and do contract work.

Using technology to automate monotonous activities definitely makes us smarter by giving us more time for analysis and creativity.

May 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJameson
i found your youtube channel i love it i’m so happy you have a podcast!! thank you.
May 15, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterreginald robinson
When I am surfing the web occasionally I have discovered a website this really is particularly thought to invoke such as this one. I wanted to share that I found the content on your website has been highly interesting and I learned new things. I will be sure to look for your upcoming post. Many thanks for this fantastic write-up I will come again soon.
June 4, 2019 | Unregistered Commentertank trouble
How many times did you use the word "LIKE" in this podcast - it got to the point I skipped to the next podcast - it was LIKE unbearable to listen to LIKE LIKE LIKE all the time
July 1, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJason
I agree with the previous poster about the excessive use of "like", so I downloaded the transcript, replaced the excessive "like"s with a space and then used a text-to-speech program to re-record the audio. Unfortunately the robot voice of text-to-speech is almost as annoying as the overuse of the term "like". Since I really enjoy this podcast, but I find the "like" non-fluency irritating, I am investigating using Voice cloning software to sample Julia's voice and re-record these podcasts after I have removed the "like" from the transcripts.
August 8, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterWade
Too much politics by the author. Julia is trying to put back the conversation on good rails. However I don't find the author interesting... Talks too much about irrelevant subjects. The topic sounded a lot more interesting than what the author had to say.
September 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMax

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