Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents
1 Jan 1997
City Lights Books
Here is a candid account of the life of a software engineer who runs her own computer consulting business out of a live-work loft in San Francisco's Multimedia Gulch. Immersed in the abstract world of information, algorithms, and networks, she would like to give in to the seductions of the programmer's world, where "weird logic dreamers" like herself live "close to the machine." Still, she is keenly aware that body and soul are not mechanical: desire, love, and the need to communicate face to face don't easily fit into lines of code or clicks in a Web browser. At every turn, she finds she cannot ignore the social and philosophical repercussions of her work. As Ullman sees it, the cool world of cyberculture is neither the death of civilization nor its salvation - it is the vulnerable creation of people who are not so sure of just where they're taking us all.