re: Where do you think ethics in tech is falling short? VIEW POST


For me, we have to start with the proposition that tech is not values-neutral.

I think a lot of the industry sees the things it creates as one thing, while values and ethics are an entirely different thing.

Technology is not new and it didn't start with the ENIAC.

Controlling fire was a technological advancement. Writing. Agriculture. Iron. Gunpowder. The Printing Press.

All those and a lot more were also technologies that changed the course of global human society.

As such, modern technology is not the first moment where our tooling has ramifications for the way we live, the way we interact with others, the future of our civilizations, and the future of our planet as a whole. What is different this time is the technology of today has the potential to be a lot more destructive on a worldwide scale than just about anything before it.

What is helpful for me in thinking about this question is once I place today's technology in the timeline of human technological advancements, as part of the continually evolving landscape of tooling we keep on creating, than I can also place it in the continually evolving discourse on ethics.

If modern technology is not an aberration, but part of continued human discovery -- albeit with more potency and global reach than ever before -- then it is also subject to the same rigors of ethical exploration that has defined us as a species across every culture.

I think the challenge is to take that concept and reify it during our day-to-day as developers in the industry. It is one thing to hold it as an abstract endeavor, it is quite another to think through the ethical implications of whatever tool we're building, refactoring, iterating on, etc.

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