I remember spending hours moving around jumpers to set DMA and IRQ. Only to find out that the only free IRQ was #9 and bloody Packard Bells sometimes didn't have a frikkin' 9 because that batch of boards was $2 cheaper that month...
I remember when it wasn't pretty and it took ridiculous efforts to make it work even a little. Now I mostly jam a USB thing in the side and it goes. There has been much improvement.
I'm actually a little psyched by it all. This just happens to be a really hard problem that arrived at humanity's doorstep before we were really evolved enough to make much of it. It might mean we're ahead of the game, and it almost certainly means that the best is still yet to come.
w.r.t. OP, should lines of code be restricted to manageable amounts by some kind of international regulatory fiat, or can they just abstract the problem away into utterly comprehensive libraries of functions, or do coders just need to man up and take it?
There was a time when there were no humans who knew how to drive a car.
This fits the OPs notion that no one really understand the crap underneath it all.