Tech issues: The myth of inevitable technological progress - Vox


42 bookmarks. First posted by dsalo 15 days ago.


Imagine you’re taking an online business class — the kind where you watch video lectures and then answer questions at the end. But this isn’t a normal class,…
from instapaper
2 days ago by loganrhyne
“It is only the hyper-privileged who are now saying, ‘I’m not going to give my kids this,’ or, ‘I’m not on social media,’” says Rumman Chowdhury, a data scientist at Accenture. “You actually have to be so comfortable in your privilege that you can opt out of things.”
tech-life 
5 days ago by arthrfrts
Imagine you’re taking an online business class — the kind where you watch video lectures and then answer questions at the end. But this isn’t a normal class,…
from instapaper
8 days ago by fabianmu
Tech moguls see facial recognition, smart diapers, and surveillance devices as inevitable evolutions. They’re not.
newswire 
10 days ago by kejadlen
> So the assertion that technology companies can’t possibly be shaped or restrained with the public’s interest in mind is to argue that they are fundamentally different from any other industry. They’re not.

​> an echo of the very ethos that founded America: progress at all costs.

​> and it’s time to question what “progress” actually means.
rose-eveleth  society  technology  progress 
10 days ago by jasdev
Evolution is a terrible metaphor for tech, and progress is not an uncontrollable inevitability.
technology  capitalism  silicon-valley-groupthink 
12 days ago by mr_stru
The biggest lie tech people tell themselves — and the rest of us via Instapaper http://bit.ly/2IKInl8
Imagine you’re taking an online business class — the kind where you watch video lectures and then answer questions at the end. But this isn’t a normal class,…
instapaper 
12 days ago by patrick
Imagine you’re taking an online business class — the kind where you watch video lectures and then answer questions at the end. But this isn’t a normal class, and you’re not just watching the lectures: They’re watching you back.
from instapaper
13 days ago by AnthonyBaker
solid critique and f the “inevitable march of progress” and “natural selection” and “somebody else would have done it eventually” arguments often used to support questionable or invasive technology products.
culture  ethics  technology 
13 days ago by Mr0grog
In some situations, even if we can’t literally put a technological genie back in a bottle, we can artificially intervene to make sure the genie plays by specific rules.
"Evolution is driven by mistakes, not plans"

There are clear laws about what companies can and can’t do in the realm of biological weapons. The FDA ensures drugs are tested for efficacy and safety before they can be sold. The USDA ensures new food research is done with care. We don’t let anybody frack or drill for oil or build nuclear power plants wherever they like. We don’t let just anybody make and sell cars or airplanes or guns.

So the assertion that technology companies can’t possibly be shaped or restrained with the public’s interest in mind is to argue that they are fundamentally different from any other industry. They’re not.
twig  740 
13 days ago by leolaporte
The biggest lie tech people tell themselves — and the rest of us via
from twitter
14 days ago by zvi
Evolution is a terrible metaphor for technology

Technologists’ desire to make a parallel to evolution is flawed at its very foundation. Evolution is driven by random mutation — mistakes, not plans. (And while some inventions may indeed be the result of mishaps, the decision of a company to patent, produce, and market those inventions is not.) Evolution doesn’t have meetings about the market, the environment, the customer base. Evolution doesn’t patent things or do focus groups. Evolution doesn’t spend millions of dollars lobbying Congress to ensure that its plans go unfettered. […]

This endless, punishing race in the name of “progress” is often what drives consumer behavior, too. Despite the “American dream” — security, safety, prosperity — being more and more out of reach for everyday Americans, the idea that it’s just around the corner drives people to purchase these products.

If you have the newest app, people think their lives will be easier, you’ll have more free time, more quality time. Commercials promise more backyard barbecues under sparklers and birthday surprise parties facilitated by internet-connected light bulbs.

And when we buy the products, tech companies take that as a green light to continue on their “inevitable” path, inching ever toward a world where Amazon knows exactly what you’re doing, thinking, feeling — perhaps even before you do. “It’s all a loop,” says Stark. “It’s weird. That’s what puts people in this bind. They think they should be able to have it all. They can’t, and technology is a kind of prophylactic to cope with this stuff.”
evolution  silicon-valley  rose-eveleth  via:jbrennan 
14 days ago by cdzombak
In case you forgot, our world is shaped by humans who make decisions, and technology companies are no different.
from twitter
14 days ago by topgold
Rose Eveleth says that the biggest lie technologists tell themselves and others is that there is nothing we can do to stop the natural and inevitable evolution of technology
14 days ago by joeo10
Evolution is a terrible metaphor for technology

Technologists’ desire to make a parallel to evolution is flawed at its very foundation. Evolution is driven by random mutation — mistakes, not plans. (And while some inventions may indeed be the result of mishaps, the decision of a company to patent, produce, and market those inventions is not.) Evolution doesn’t have meetings about the market, the environment, the customer base. Evolution doesn’t patent things or do focus groups. Evolution doesn’t spend millions of dollars lobbying Congress to ensure that its plans go unfettered. […]

This endless, punishing race in the name of “progress” is often what drives consumer behavior, too. Despite the “American dream” — security, safety, prosperity — being more and more out of reach for everyday Americans, the idea that it’s just around the corner drives people to purchase these products.

If you have the newest app, people think their lives will be easier, you’ll have more free time, more quality time. Commercials promise more backyard barbecues under sparklers and birthday surprise parties facilitated by internet-connected light bulbs.

And when we buy the products, tech companies take that as a green light to continue on their “inevitable” path, inching ever toward a world where Amazon knows exactly what you’re doing, thinking, feeling — perhaps even before you do. “It’s all a loop,” says Stark. “It’s weird. That’s what puts people in this bind. They think they should be able to have it all. They can’t, and technology is a kind of prophylactic to cope with this stuff.”
evolution  silicon-valley  rose-eveleth 
14 days ago by jbrennan
If you like my piece today in Vox about how there's nothing "natural" about tech progress ()…
from twitter_favs
15 days ago by Ianc
Imagine you’re taking an online business class — the kind where you watch video lectures and then answer questions at the end. But this isn’t a normal class,…
from instapaper
15 days ago by zota
Imagine you’re taking an online business class — the kind where you watch video lectures and then answer questions at the end. But this isn’t a normal class,…
from instapaper
15 days ago by AramZS
Tech moguls see facial recognition, smart diapers, and surveillance devices as inevitable evolutions. They’re not.
15 days ago by AstroBadger
Imagine you’re taking an online business class — the kind where you watch video lectures and then answer questions at the end. But this isn’t a normal class,…
from instapaper
15 days ago by theory
The biggest lie tech people tell themselves — and the rest of us
from twitter
15 days ago by karsh
"This dubious thing is just a fact of life now."
ethics  technology  dataethicscourse 
15 days ago by dsalo