Tag Archives: Wendy Hui Kyong Chun

The Ideology of Software

Today, software helps foster the idea that computers are visual and transparent.  Software creates visual interfaces of desktops and folders.  It is transparent in a way that makes the computer readable codes into said desktops and folders.  Software allows for the invisible (the computer readable codes) to become visible (visual interfaces) and also renders the visible to become invisible (all the users and programmers see is what is presented by the software on the monitor).

Before software existed, in the 1940s, human operators participated in direct programming, “making connections, setting switches, and inputting values” (28).  In order to decrease programming time, John von Neumann suggested the switch to store-program computers, eliminating the need to rewire the machines every time to run a new program.  This switch to store-program computers was largely reliant on women.  There presumption that the role of women in computation can be replaced by machines.  However, most operators were young women, like the member of the Women’s Royal Naval Service, with mathematic background.  To say these women follow the commands repetitively like a computer blindly follows a program is unfair.  Women operators must put together the instructions, interpret and learn from previous commands.

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