Algorithms by Brit Medlock

“Who invented computer programming? Hint; child of Lord Byron.”

I pipe up. “Ada Lovelace!” No, couldn’t be, a woman, surely not. I protest. Slosh my drink. Back myself. This is knowledge saved for a Very Special Occasion.

“Ada Lovelace.” The pause is several months pregnant.

“And the answer to number 23 is in fact, Ada Lovelace!”

Perhaps this is the proudest I’ve been since graduation, perhaps this is my peak.
Scratch that perhaps, I’m five pints in and flying.

Someone asks about Ada and I explain her. She helped to develop the algorithm.

You know, the natty little tool that tells you to invite the lad you like to your do.
That shows you sperm bank adverts on Facebook, your ex on Bumble, that recommends therapists and determines what’s relevant.

“Self-determination died with newsfeed augmentation!”

Another pause, this one considerably weightier. Conversation shuffles on, the next question is read out.

I stop for a minute, step down from my soapbox, take a sip. It was a nice line that one, fine, supplemented by wine and whining but a line nonetheless and yet, in that moment, I believe it to be true.

I open several of those little squares, close them, open them again. The screen thumbprinted and familiar.

I don’t delete them, though.