Excerpt/ Software is everywhere. Programmed Visions: Software and Memory is part of a growing literature that seeks to understand the meaning of software and its power. Chun starts with the proposition that software is a thing, that computer programming has ‘hardened’ though processes related to its commodification into a particularly powerful kind of thing. Its metaphors are legion – hard and soft, for example – while it works itself as a kind of uber-metaphor, since the logic of programmability sprawls beyond software in the guise of neoliberal governmentality. Chun understands the computer interface and its masterful, ‘so-called users’ as symptomatic of a larger instrumentalization of knowledge (p. 17). In the rush to capitalize on knowledge, temporality gains new value and the future becomes a commodity that can be bought and sold, and with it, the past. Chun sees ‘computers as capable of being the future, because, based on past data, they shape and predict it’ (p. 9). Crucially, data are mined in order to foretell that future and organize the past towards its subsequent application. The title of the book is a reference to these ‘programmable visions.’
— “Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Programmed Visions: Software and Memory” co-authored with Lisa Gitelman in New Media & Society, March 2012, 359-360.