Warning: A quote I use in this article is quite graphic. That's the power of the writing, but if you are at all squirmy you may want to turn back now.
Debugging requires a particular sympathy for the machine. You must be able to run the machine and networks of machines in your mind while simulating what-ifs based on mere wisps of insight.
There's another process that is surprisingly similar to debugging: hunting down serial killers.
I ran across this parallel while reading Mindhunter: Inside the FBI's Elite Serial Crime Unit
You have to be able to re-create the crime scene in your head. You need to know as much as you can about the victim so that you can imagine how she might have reacted. You have to be able to put yourself in her place as the attacker threatens her with a gun or a knife, a rock, his fists, or whatever. You have to be able to feel her fear as he approaches her. You have to be able to feel her pain as he rapes her or beats her or cuts her. You have to try to imagine what she was going through when he tortured her for his sexual gratification. You have to understand what it’s like to scream in terror and agony, realizing that it won’t help, that it won’t get him to stop. You have to know what it was like. And that is a heavy burden to have to carry.
Serial killers are like bugs in the societal machine. They hide. They blend in. They can pass for "normal" which makes them tough to find. They attack weakness causing untold damage until caught. And they will keep causing damage until caught. They are always hunting for opportunity.
After reading the book I'm quite grateful that the only bugs I've had to deal with are of the computer variety. The human bugs are very very scary.
Here are some other quotes from the book you may also appreciate: