Anna Wiener’s book, Uncanny Valley is her memoir about the experience of going from being a literature graduate working at a publishing house in New York to working for tech companies in Silicon Valley.
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“What I really like about the Wiener book is that she uses her life story and the various situations that she finds herself in as a way of trying to describe this world that is emerging, but not necessarily to try and pin it down with a simple argument saying ‘this is this’ or ‘this is that.’ She starts as an underpaid publishing person in one of those miserable jobs that we all know about. Then she goes to a minor startup, and moves on through another startup, through to working for a major platform, GitHub. She never names any of the companies, but it’s often quite clear who she’s talking about, and one of the fun parts of the book for people who hang on the outside of this world is figuring out who is who.
Wiener uses her own personal experiences and those of people around her to capture how the logic of information and engineering, the Marc Andreessen “Why Software is Eating the World” logic actually intersects with the real world, with real people, with real lives. Also, she wants to get at the messiness of the people who are actually implementing this stuff, the complicated ways in which they try to deny to themselves that they are part of the surveillance industry and to capture the role of women.” Read more...