Berkeley Talks: Programmer and author Ellen Ullman on her life in code

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Tsu-Jae King Liu and Ellen Ullman talking on stage

Dean of engineering Tsu-Jae King Liu (left) and Ellen Ullman (Photo by Adriel Olmos)

Ellen Ullman is a computer programmer, essayist on technology and culture and an author of four books — two nonfiction and two novels — on the human side of technology. Her most recent book, Life in Code: A Personal History of Technology, in 2007 was named by the San Francisco Chronicle among the best books of the year.

Life in Code bookends her earlier work, in 1997, where that was named Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents, recounting life as a woman technologist amongst and almost exclusively male workforce at the start of the global digital revolution. Twenty years later, Ullman reflects on digital technology’s loss of innocence and reckons with all that has changed and so much that hasn’t.

Dean of engineering Tsu-Jae King Liu spoke with Ullman on March 8, 2019, during the annual Women in Technology symposium at UC Berkeley. The daylong event was sponsored by WITI@UC, a joint initiative of Berkeley Engineering and CITRIS and the Banatao Institute.

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