Is Big Tech a "species failure"?
By NATHAN KINCH
I’ve challenged the notion of technological instrumentalism before. The idea that tech is neutral feels short sighted. It lacks nuance. It leads to ethical decision-making that is sub optimal. It enables post hoc rationalisation of practices that are socially acceptable at best.
The fact the institutions around the world are seen to be failing at ethics isn’t surprising to me. They should be optimising for what is socially preferable. they need to set a higher bar. I’ve covered this before, so let’s move on.
Earlier today I read a blog from Scott Galloway. For those of you familiar with his work, you’ll know he doesn’t shy away from candid commentary. Whether it’s right is a different story.
What stuck out to me most about his post, even though I’d probably challenge much of what Scott says for various reasons, was the final statement.
This is a big statement. And although I agree with aspects of it, it again fails to tackle the nuance that’s so relevant to this discussion.
Facebook is a symptom. The ‘systems’ we rely upon as a species have enabled Facebook to flourish. They enabled Facebook to turn a $5bn fine into a surge of shareholder value (yes, after being fined an astronomical amount of money by most standards, Facebook’s stock price went up). They’ve enables inept leadership action to go largely unchecked.
So, what’s the point?
We’re focused on the wrong things. Breaking up Facebook or Google or Amazon can be likened to a tactic. The problem is, it’s at the expense of strategy.
We need a strategy for our species.
We need to ask different questions. We need to define different, more empowering and more collective goals. We need commercials gains to be realised as a result of valuable and meaningful outcomes. Commercial growth at the expense of all else can’t continue.
Okay, I’ve got a little rat out of the way. Now’s the time to convertse. Let’s talk this through. Let’s dive into the weeds and traverse the nuance.