Auerbach, a writer and software engineer, was fascinated with codes and computers early on. When he was a child, drawing ferns with the programming language Logo on the Apple IIe, it didn’t occur to him that he was letting technology mediate his experience of nature. Later, it did. In this history of personal computing, Auerbach recounts his experiences with text-based video games, his training as an engineer, and his work on instant-messaging systems and data sorting for Microsoft and Google. But his celebration of technology’s prowess is tempered by his realizations that algorithms are standardizing and coarsening our lives. Part memoir and part manifesto, his book is a compelling inside look at Big Tech as well as a warning that as we narrow the gap between humans and machines, we risk squeezing out our most truly human characteristics.