Don't Look Down

Thoughts On Tech

Tech's Moral Reckoning (notes and wisdom-bytes from a vital interview)

Anil has been an early activist for moral imagination in the digital sphere — an aspiration which has now become an urgent task. In his interview  with On Being, he explores the unprecedented power, the learning curves ahead, and how we can all contribute to the humane potential of technology in this moment.

These are quick notes and useful wisdom-bytes for personal referral. Listen the full interview here:

  1. Coding used to be purely creation based before the advent of connectivity - since then creation quickly and brutally converts to consumption....connectivity is implicit in assigning this model to innovative arts and culture in so many ways - good and bad.
  2. The global tech sector has broken the seal on a deeper ethical enquiry to the work being done - but it needs significant and active support.
  3. "We bake our values into the tools we create". Or at least we should (amazing quote) 
  4. The tools we develop always have consequences - the size of a comment box on Gawker for example has a direct influence on journalism, and how people report. Instagram as another example, transformed the visual image to square..
  5. Ultimately these are all arbitrary variables in design, yet they have a direct influence on society, community, accountability etc... and so society and political impact at large. 
  6. Tech is anti-historical - there is no before now! Perhaps this is the foundations of the issue?
  7. Tech tools (re)formed the craft...especially in journalism. 
  8. The trade off for publishers; by bringing everything within their walls they failed to understand the social, neutral positioning of technology - so good advertising faces off against fake news, for equal spoils of attention. 
  9. There’s zero ethical policy or training for tech engineers. In any educational process there's an extensive educational curriculum. The bridge can't collapse - why is this not present in tech
  10. Numbers aren't magical information without context and ethical enquiry. 
  11. Tech built the same structures for hate to flow along the same pathways as knowledge.
  12. "We aided and abetted media's suicide" Dana 
  13. (We) make spectacle of data for its own reason.
  14. NYT knowing allowed falsity on its home page during the '16 election whilst trying to decry ambiguity. 
  15. Idea: will the growing sense of manipulation, lack of ethics and NWO control paradigms lead towards a counter-digital-movement?
  16. The problem with Facebook is that it's hard to know if and when they are making right choices, because they are in uncharted / unprecedented territory. We forget that very easily.  
  17. Inclusion and diversity in tech is pivotal and (finally) being addressed.
  18. Echo chambers emerge from the algorithms....Seth Godin notes the creation of tribes beyond blood line and geography. Tech makes that possible.
  19. Tech industry is blighted with false modesty - and so are brands - social and digital tools are being used for good and honest purposes, or bad and dishonest ones. Making that judgement is paramount. Everyone has a responsibility. 
  20. We need to encourage generative relationships - or explicitly design for good behaviour
  21. How we measure and what we measure is paramount. Could we have metrics about gratitude and happiness using science thinking?
  22. Tools and metrics that measure good, generative behaviour - amplify a smaller voice, gratitude, positive nurturing, altruistic advice or good civic behaviours and offer gentle correctness. 
  23. Is the reckoning happening? Inclusion and diversity is a robust debate. There is a ground swell under the larger issue of a more humane and ethical layer of consideration. In the shortness of a hashtag you can see a person's values are. There is no hashtag that allows us to link a thought or idea to the larger debate. A galvanising idea and movement that's identifiable. That coalesces technology and shapes it for positive, generative human enterprise.
  24. We have assumed decision making from culture, politics and arts - because tech influences it so immediately and so globally - the urgency is that much higher to address our own moral failings.