Is it a bug or a feature?


Nicholas Carr chases down the origin of the phrase ”It’s Not a Bug, It’s a Feature.” This bit stuck with me:

INABIAF—the initialism has earned a place in the venerable Acronym Finder—is for programmers as much a cri de coeur 1 as an excuse. For the rest of us, the saying has taken on a sinister tone. It wasn’t long ago that we found software ­dazzling, all magic and light. But our perception of the programmer’s art has darkened. The friendly-seeming apps and chatbots on our phones can, we’ve learned, harbor ill intentions. They can manipulate us or violate our trust or make us act like jerks. It’s the features now that turn out to be bugs.

It seems that more and more, we simply don’t trust our software any more. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.


  1. I googled this so you don’t have to. It means “passionate appeal, complaint, or protest.”