Vesna Manojlovic on Fri, 29 Jun 2018 23:31:20 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> "Challenging the Tech Companies from Within" via LibrarianShipwreck

Interesting article, about ethics in technology:

Some quotes:

"who bears responsibility for creating the technologies that carry clear
dystopian potential?"

"A wave of recent activism from tech company workers has demonstrated
that some of the individuals working for these companies are wary about
what they are being asked to create"

"the message that these activists broadcast loud and clear is: we care.

This is a message which is hard for tech CEOs to make these days,
because they've spent years demonstrating by their *actions* that they
really don't care."

"we are in the present situation because these companies have repeatedly
demonstrated that they aren't particularly concerned with ethics or the
negative implications of their actions."

"the risk posed by these well publicized campaigns is that they distract
from just how bad and problematic these companies truly are by holding
up a handful of employee reformers as the solution"

"these companies can easily take this moment to bow to the pressure from
concerned employees in order to gain some positive progressive PR. ...

but what they're really trying to head off is the mounting public
frustration that could culminate in a genuine push for these companies
to be broken up."

"These stories make these companies seem rebellious and cool again, and
they make it seem like these companies can hold themselves accountable.

But ... it is horridly obvious that these companies are not particularly
interested in being held to account by themselves or anyone else."

"just because it looks like there are a few employees at these companies
who could be our friends, it still doesn't mean these companies are our

"too many still act as if they do not know that this is where we are
going. This is what happens when complex technologies, and those who
create them, are untethered from a concern with 'collective ends' and
allowed to see themselves as the end that matters. "

"... a larger point that prompts us to consider which people benefit and
which people [and squirrels!] lose out."

*that just isn't good enough*

"if tech workers are serious, they need to refuse to build these things

They need to begin the slow and careful work of dismantling these systems"

some things simply should not be built.

"In the present moment those who work to design and create new
technologies need to be seriously considering the repressive potential
of the things they are making."


I am happy to have discovered Ellul though this article!

pps it reminds me of that other paper: "Do Artifacts Have Politics", by
Langdon Winner, cited in my "ethics in tech" presentations:

#  distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime>  is a moderated mailing list for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info:
#  archive: contact:
#  @nettime_bot tweets mail w/ sender unless #ANON is in Subject: