Whether you’re a user or builder in tech, it’s important to remember the out-sized impact that is provided by information systems and the mass availability of data.
Even before computers, these ethical questions have arisen in technology such as with IBM’s significant role in enabling the holocaust almost 100 years ago.
Below, Cindy Cohn of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) gives current news and a call to action as she writes for Mozilla on:
“How to Make Sure the Tech You Use and Build Reflects Your Values“
(P.S.): In an era of increasingly intelligent systems, it’s also worth thinking about how tech is designed to interact with how we think, feel, and behave in a more general sense.
Below, Joel Spolsky (Former CEO of Stack Overflow) speculates on what’s happening “under the hood” with social media and how it affects civil discourse, including some positive changes that Facebook has made even while sacrificing user engagement:
What is the lesson? The lesson here is that when you design software, you create the future.
If you’re designing software for a social network, the decision to limit message lengths, or the decision to use ML to maximize engagement, will have vast social impact which is often very hard to predict.
As software developers and designers, we have a responsibility to the world to think these things through carefully and design software that makes the world better, or, at least, no worse than it started out.
And when our inventions spin out of control, we have a responsibility to understand why and to try to fix them.
If you’re particularly interested in protecting your own browsing habits, it’s worth doing a few simple things to ensure your privacy online.
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