The Tech Issue – Silicon Valley has an empathy vaccum

At the back of Trump election, The New Yorker explores Silicon Valley’s biggest failing: not poor marketing of its products, or follow-through on promises, but, rather, the distinct lack of empathy for those whose lives are disturbed by its technological wizardry.

As recent incidents proved, when you are a data-driven oligarchy like Facebook, Google, Amazon, or Uber, you can’t really wash your hands of the impact of your algorithms and your ability to shape popular sentiment in our society.

At SXSW2017, the example of 2-million long-haul truck drivers losing their jobs to autonomous vehicle was well quoted. The article highlights that

“Truck driving is one of the few decent-paying jobs that doesn’t require a college diploma. Eliminating the need for truck drivers doesn’t just affect those millions of drivers; it has a ripple effect on ancillary services like gas stations, motels, and retail outlets; an entire economic ecosystem could break down.”

We talk about the filter bubbles on social networks and their negative impacts- see this great TED Talk by Eli Pariser from March 2011 yet soooo relevant today:

But real-world filter bubbles, like the one in Silicon Valley, are perhaps more problematic.