Some great questions and reflections on technology and the web.
Reshared post from +Ben Werdmuller
Something I've been thinking about over the last few weeks:
Is the technology industry a force for good in the world?
The promise is that technology empowers and democratizes, and particularly on the web, I buy into that. It's changed the world in some very important, very good ways. But consider:
We're seriously eroding our users' privacy. For many of us, that doesn't matter very much in our own lives. But it's the kind of thing that could erode our freedom should we find ourselves in a less privileged position – and many people do, today.
The web itself is being eroded into a commercial tool dominated by a few key players.
We're defining people by the products they consume – and asking them to define themselves in the same way. Like your favorite albums, brands, pages, corporations, and post it on your profile so we can see what kind of a person you are.
We're one of the most energy-hungry industries on the planet. Right now, 2% of all the electricity used in the United States goes on server farms, and it's increasing at a rate of 10% each year.
Most of the devices we push are made using environmentally unfriendly manufacturing processes, in adverse conditions by people well below the poverty line. While we empower our users, our lifestyle is made possible by people who have to all intents and purposes been disenfranchised.
It's a bleak picture, but the game isn't over yet. More and more, I find myself drawn back to the principles of open source, participative activism and social entrepreneurship. It's not too late to turn this ship around.
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