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December 15, 2017

The technology industry is under broad political attack

I apologize for posting a December downer, but this needs to be said.

The technology industry is under attack:

These attacks:

You’ve surely noticed some of these attacks. But you may not have noticed just how many different attacks and criticisms there are, on multiple levels.

1. Concerns about jobs, disruption, gentrification and so on are a Really Big Deal, causing large swaths of the population to regard technology as bad for their pocketbooks. In particular:

People who believe that technologists harm them are a major political force.

2. The technology industry is under considerable legislative, regulatory, and judicial pressure. For starters:

Complicating things further, these challenges take different forms in different countries around the world.

Also:

I could keep going much longer than that. Government relations are a major, major issue for tech.

3. It is traditional to claim that advances in communication/media technologies will wreck society.

This era brings similar concerns.

I.e., the apocalypse is imminent, and tech is what will bring it on.

The most compelling version of that argument I’ve seen is Jean Twenge’s claims that there’s a teen mental health crisis perfectly matched in time to the rise of the smartphone. And to make any such claim seem particularly damning, please recall: Social media and gaming companies are clearly trying to foster a form of addiction in — well, in their users.

Current concern may ebb just like previous generations’ did. But for now, they’re yet another aspect of a threat-filled environment.

4. What worries me most is this: The United States and other countries face relentless attacks on education, educators, science, scientists, and rationality itself. And there are no obvious limits to how bad these can get. China’s Cultural Revolution and the Cambodian genocide happened during my lifetime. Stalin and Hitler ruled during my parents’. All four took particular aim at people like us.

Bottom line: EVERYBODY in the technology industry should be or quickly become politically aware. We have an awful lot of politics to deal with.

Comments

3 Responses to “The technology industry is under broad political attack”

  1. Pawe? Matysiak on December 20th, 2017 5:49 am

    Calling Uber or Airbnb a “sharing economy” company is simply wrong.

  2. Politics can be overwhelming | DBMS?2 : DataBase Management System Services on February 7th, 2018 9:04 pm

    […] recently posted that the tech industry is under broad political attack. That’s even more true than I realized. Two recent and indicative developments […]

  3. Modifying beliefs | Strategic Messaging on March 19th, 2018 1:49 am

    […] We’re all evidently members of the “out-of-touch elites”. […]

Leave a Reply




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