Culturally, code exists in a nether zone. We can feel its gnostic effects on our everyday reality, but we rarely see it, and it's quite inscrutable to non-initiates. (The folks in Silicon Valley like it that way; it helps them self-mythologize as wizards.) We construct top-10 lists for movies, games, TV -- pieces of work that shape our souls. But we don't sit around compiling lists of the world's most consequential bits of code, even though they arguably inform the zeitgeist just as much.
So Slate decided to do precisely that. To shed light on the software that has tilted the world on its axis, the editors polled computer scientists, software developers, historians, policymakers, and journalists. They were asked to pick: Which pieces of code had a huge influence? Which ones warped our lives?
I contributed to this article -- "The Null-Terminated String: The most catastrophic design bug in the history of computing" -- but there are a bunch of other worthy entries in here that I hadn't thought of!