In Big Tech & people: a complicated relationship of convenience beschrijft Om Malik onze moeizame relatie met technologie.
Op persoonlijk niveau maakt het ons leven een stuk makkelijker, maar tegelijkertijd versterkt het ontwikkelingen die op regionaal of (inter)nationaal niveau enorm onwenselijk zijn.
In the past, when preparing to go to the airport from my parents house (in India), someone (usually my dad) would walk about a mile and a half to a local taxi stand to try and book a cab — typically an aging old Ambassador with only the theoretical capability to make the 20-mile journey to the airport — to arrive at a prearranged time, which involved haggling with the driver and then hoping he showed up. Fast forward 20 years, and I was checking in at the airport within 50 minutes of making a single, simple tap on Uber.
While I marveled at the convenience, I also remembered that there are rumored to be about 450,000 new cars on the road in the Delhi capital region as a consequence of Uber. Add another 150,000 from Ola, and you can see why there is smog permanently hovering over Delhi as the traffic crawls like Los Angeles on steroids.
Hoe vormen wij technologie?
Technologie vormt ons dan wel. Maar wij vormen technologie. Dus het is zaak dat we daarover nadenken en invloed uitoefenen. Daarover citeert hij Rosé Eveleth:
“Our world is shaped by humans who make decisions, and technology companies are no different…. 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.”
Alleen weet ook Om nog niet hoe:
I am quite interested in knowing how — or if — we can evolve from the big tech conundrum we find ourselves in. So far, I am really surprised that none of us have developed any real answers beyond vague proposals to break up the big tech companies and abstract ideas of how we might attempt to control them. What are the concrete steps? What should we be doing to tame these monsters, which are on the loose? But more importantly: What if these are monsters we can’t live without? This is the question that kept coming up in my mind as I traveled to Japan and India.
Als sociaal werker leerde Wilneida Negron dat ze kwetsbare mensen kon helpen door contact te leggen met andere experts en bruggen te bouwen. Ook met technologie, want:
when applied in ways that serves the public interest – like helping to connect vulnerable communities to vital information and resources, and building movements – technology could be one of those bridges.
Technologie als brug
Steeds meer mensen realiseren zich dat onze moderne technologie, van smartphone tot het surveillance-kapitalisme van Facebook en Google, veel negatieve effecten heeft. Maar er zijn dus lichtpuntjes. Technology for Good, zeg maar. Die dit soort problemen kunnen helpen oplossen:
[a] loophole in Facebook’s API allowed law enforcement to monitor the social media accounts of young men of color I counseled after they were released from detention, and without their knowledge. (After pressure from advocates, Facebook fixed this glaring privacy problem in 2016.) And how the low-income families I was assisting, already dealing with limited broadband access, were plagued by online ads for predatory loans whenever they tried to search for information online. For these youth of color and low-income families, their experience of technology and the internet was already being shaped by their race, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Verbinden voor betere technologie
En de kennis en ervaring van andere niet-technische specialisaties helpt nu om technologie eerlijker te maken:
More recently, this curiosity and desire to build connection brought me to work with computer scientists to develop technical solutions to algorithmic discrimination . As computer scientists were trying to figure out how to codify concepts of “fairness” in algorithmic decision-making tools, we knew we needed to seek the expertise of racial justice advocates, criminal justice reformers, and the civil and human rights communities to define specific fairness criteria based on real-life cases and issues.
Dus geen “move fast and break things” maar juist “Move carefully and purposely, and embrace complexity.” Mooi!