Technology was supposed to be society's equalizer, what happened?

Mar 2012
54,789
36,423
New Hampshire
#1
Interesting article thoughts?

Historians may look back at the early 21st century as the Gilded Age 2.0. Not since the late 1800s has the U.S. been so defined by the triad of rapid technological change, gaping economic inequality, and sudden social upheaval. Ironically, the digital revolution was supposed to be an equalizer.

But in the last few years, the most successful tech companies have built a new economy that often accentuates the worst parts of the old world they were bent on replacing. Facebook’s platform amplifies preexisting biases—both of ideology and race—and political propaganda. Amazon’s dominion over online retail has allowed it to squash competition, not unlike the railroad monopolies of the 19th century. And Apple, in designing the most profitable product in modern history, has also designed another instrument of harmful behavioral addiction.

Meredith Broussard, a computer scientist and a data journalist, says, many of the tech industry’s failures stem from a force she calls “technochauvinism.” This is not only a critique of the software industry’s infamous gender inequality, which makes it difficult for women’s perspective to be considered in designing tech. It is also chauvinism in the original sense of the word: a presumption that the most advanced technological solution is inherently the best one.

How Technochauvinism Derailed the Digital Future - The Atlantic
 
Feb 2011
16,523
5,779
Boise, ID
#2
Interesting article thoughts?

Historians may look back at the early 21st century as the Gilded Age 2.0. Not since the late 1800s has the U.S. been so defined by the triad of rapid technological change, gaping economic inequality, and sudden social upheaval. Ironically, the digital revolution was supposed to be an equalizer.

But in the last few years, the most successful tech companies have built a new economy that often accentuates the worst parts of the old world they were bent on replacing. Facebook’s platform amplifies preexisting biases—both of ideology and race—and political propaganda. Amazon’s dominion over online retail has allowed it to squash competition, not unlike the railroad monopolies of the 19th century. And Apple, in designing the most profitable product in modern history, has also designed another instrument of harmful behavioral addiction.

Meredith Broussard, a computer scientist and a data journalist, says, many of the tech industry’s failures stem from a force she calls “technochauvinism.” This is not only a critique of the software industry’s infamous gender inequality, which makes it difficult for women’s perspective to be considered in designing tech. It is also chauvinism in the original sense of the word: a presumption that the most advanced technological solution is inherently the best one.

How Technochauvinism Derailed the Digital Future - The Atlantic
I can't even really follow it. It seems to shift nebulously between momentary thoughts.

"the digital revolution was supposed to be an equalizer. The early boosters of the Internet sprang from the counterculture of the 1960s and the New Communalist movement."

A few sentences in and I'm thinking, ahhh, what?

Then it says Amazon, Facebook and Apple have created an economy with the worst features of the "old world." Um. Really? Hm. K.

And then it dumps into a meandering set of feminist complaints that women aren't going to want to ride-share with unknown men and there aren't enough women in computer science fields.

No offense to you obviously, but this article strikes me as a quintessential example of why sociology and undergraduate social sciences (including journalism, apparently) strike me as involving a lot of nonsensical prattle a lot of the time, and why I wouldn't recommend people spend the enormous amount of tuition money it requires to pursue degrees in these fields.
 
Mar 2012
54,789
36,423
New Hampshire
#3
I can't even really follow it. It seems to shift nebulously between momentary thoughts.

"the digital revolution was supposed to be an equalizer. The early boosters of the Internet sprang from the counterculture of the 1960s and the New Communalist movement."

A few sentences in and I'm thinking, ahhh, what?

Then it says Amazon, Facebook and Apple have created an economy with the worst features of the "old world." Um. Really? Hm. K.

And then it dumps into a meandering set of feminist complaints that women aren't going to want to ride-share with unknown men and there aren't enough women in computer science fields.

No offense to you obviously, but this article strikes me as a quintessential example of why sociology and undergraduate social sciences (including journalism, apparently) strike me as involving a lot of nonsensical prattle a lot of the time, and why I wouldn't recommend people spend the enormous amount of tuition money it requires to pursue degrees in these fields.
I get the parts about Amazon taking down the mom and pops and Facebook being the robber barons of the day. But I didnt get the self autonomous car reference? Why would females not want them? She made it sound like men develop them and women dont want them because they will make them fearful.
 

Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
73,884
42,403
Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
#4
"What happened" is people do not, on the whole, change. Technology has not been an equalizer because people do not seek equalization on the individual level, even if some seek it on the macro level.
 
Feb 2011
16,523
5,779
Boise, ID
#5
I get the parts about Amazon taking down the mom and pops and Facebook being the robber barons of the day.
That's just an anti-trust question unto itself though. If Amazon (for sake of argument) has 100% of the online retail market but is still only 5% of the total retail market, does the 100% on the e-commerce side of retail constitute a monopoly? That's not necessarily the easiest question to answer, especially considering a great deal of Amazon's activity is providing a medium for third-party sellers not owned by Amazon to sell things. If we decide though that yes, Amazon has monopoly power, then anti-trust laws must be applied. If no, then no action is apparently necessary.

But this debate isn't explored in the article. It's mentioned in a half-breath in the middle of a bunch of other tangential thoughts.

But I didnt get the self autonomous car reference? Why would females not want them? She made it sound like men develop them and women dont want them because they will make them fearful.
The article doesn't attach itself to any one particular issue for long enough to honestly explore it or come up with solutions. It just mentions them and then continues drifting in the wind.
 
Likes: bajisima

johnflesh

Former Staff
Feb 2007
25,332
17,761
Colorado
#6
The article is a little weak as Neo pointed out but it's a good discussion topic.

The reason technology isn't the equalizer is because it still uses old world ideology - getting rich and disposable possessions. These companies haven't innovated enough to make a great something - they have only innovated enough to make a lot of the same somethings and resell it to you, year after year.

Monthly plans.
Renting tech, like software.
Phones.
Vehicles.
Poorly created products.
To name a few.

This has created a perspective of technology at the retail level that immediately diminishes itself as disposable to consumers. When people think of disposable, they think of razors and toothbrushes - and now phones, appliances, services, etc.


Being closer and connected - the always connected technology didn't seem to have the humanistic effect the nerds had so hoped. The concept if we are all connected humanity will flourish. The actual result is we are all connected but we are far less personable with one another and less human to one another. More like animals with remotes. Despite many people jumping on board with social medias - I'd say the majority of us see the negative effects and don't even use it. It's not especially enticing.


Money - any technology that saves lives costs more than it's worth - but is price is justified as such because it saves lives. The parts for many of these devices are purchased wholesale and placed on the market at a large markup. That cost is ultimately passed on to the person who needs the technology. How could it succeed as a humanistic improvement when it's placed behind a arbitrary paywall, set by some greedy bastard.

We've gated technology behind so many walls that it can't be societies equalizer. The one button freedom the nerds oh so wanted was altered when the nerds realized that money is survival. And they are pretty good at surviving now that they left highschool.
 
Likes: bajisima
Oct 2014
30,444
5,320
C-A-N-A-D-A-Eh
#8
There's one presumption that is flawed in this; it presumes that this tech explosion was ever INTENDED to be an equalizer. Mostly, it's about control and information, with just enough features to entice adoption.
 
Likes: johnflesh
Nov 2010
23,156
14,834
#9
Like everything, humans happened. Humans are despicable, from the greedy POS that just want more and more and don't care who they screw over to get it, to the idiots that buy their propaganda and allow them to fuck over everybody else. Same as all of history. Technology just gives the powerful more weapons to use to manipulate the people.

I wish a meteor would just wipe out humanity already, such a despicable creature
 
Jan 2016
50,259
46,262
Colorado
#10
Like everything, humans happened. Humans are despicable, from the greedy POS that just want more and more and don't care who they screw over to get it, to the idiots that buy their propaganda and allow them to fuck over everybody else. Same as all of history. Technology just gives the powerful more weapons to use to manipulate the people.

I wish a meteor would just wipe out humanity already, such a despicable creature
A very misanthropic post, to say the least.