Early last week, Desmos released a change to the way that basic arithmetic is evaluated in our calculators. The goal of this change is to make the calculators’ answers match people’s intuitions more often by computing numerical answers exactly instead of approximately in more cases where a human would.
In his wildly popular 2015 Bloomberg article about
Paul Ford included a short section about what happens inside your computer
between pressing the “a”
and getting an
a printed to the screen. His point was that even the most
straightfoward human instructions can become surprisingly delicate and complex
when filtered through wire and silicon, and that programmers are basically just
humans with the right constitution to brook the journey.
Almost everyone I have talked to who works or has worked in the tech industry has experienced some form of imposter syndrome. It is an industry filled with bravado, inside jokes, and niche knowledge that also thrives on throwing people into roles they don’t necessarily feel qualified for and hoping they will learn as they go.