Technology companies affect culture, economy, society, and even politics. Moreover, these areas are highly deregulated and live life on their terms. They deal in personal data, look after profit and forget of ethics. The following 8 facts about tech companies help to assess impact of IT giants on society and culture.
1. Technology is not a functionality only, but also a trend
On the outside, it may seem that building applications and devices is a neatly rational action. You might think that developers make a best decision to create the most advanced product, tailored for a specific target.
In practice, item tool and programming language often depends upon what developers and managers prefer and sometimes on trends. Trend affects all processes, from the arrangement of meetings to the approach to product development.
Sometimes technology creators just experiment or, on the contrary, use proven solutions, but one way or another, social factors influence the process.
Innovation does not always makes it to where a valuable product is made. So companies that boast of their innovative approach do not necessarily create services useful to a conventional consumer.
2. Technology is not inevitable
Pop culture paints pictures of growing technological progress that benefits all and everyone. The emergence of pioneer products creates compromise, for instance, sacrifice privacy and safety in the name of usability or attractive design.
At times, new technological solutions make life better for someone, while for others, it interferes only. Moreover, the appearance of pioneer products does not mean them to be implemented to the masses. And it does not mean either that it will make it to where the technologies, which already exist will develop.
In practice, process improvement is more like biological evolution. Compromises, dead ends, and regression will inevitably arise during the process, even if overall it is growing exponentially.
3. Most technology people sincerely want to do good
New products and startups may cause lots of criticism and skepticism, but do not assume that bad people stand behind technologies.
The cliche of reckless tech-bros should not overshadow the efforts of most developers who are smart and conscious people. However, good intentions are no excuse.
4. The history of technology is poorly documented and appreciated.
If you take a look at technology, you can easily find the history of creating your favorite programming language or popular device. But it is almost unreal to find out why some technologies have become successful and others not.
The computer revolution has occurred relatively recently, so many pioneers in the industry are still alive and are still working on development. However, the history of technology is quickly vanished.
How did it happen that favorite application of yours get into the top, getting around analogs? What developments run into any more problems? What troubles did the developers face with? Whose names did not make history and who remained under the radar when myths about modern technological giants were written?
The answers to these questions are hushed up or provide with false information, all for the sake of creating a glossy picture of technological progress. This problem is typical not only for IT, but also for other industries. And it can have severe consequences in the future.
5. Technology education usually does not include ethics classes
Ethics is a must for curricula in law and medicine. Of course, this does not prevent the unethical from gaining power and holding leadership positions. However, the presence of ethics classes themselves in the program is already an advantage.
Everyone needs to know the basics of ethical concepts today. For quite some time, techies did not think about studying ethics, and only recently did they talk about the problem after high-profile cases of technology abuse.
However, courses on how to use technology ethically are still a rarity. They are not initially studied, and continuing education programs more often update technical rather than social skills.
Of course, you should not think that cooperation between developers and humanities will become a panacea. But if the technology industry wants to continue to count on the support of society, experts will still have to deal with ethical issues.
6. Developers often show startling ignorance towards users
In the last decade or two, society has gained respect for the technology industry, but because of this, developers have become perceived as infallible people. For some reason, IT professionals have suddenly become authoritative experts in the fields of labor, media, transportation, infrastructure and even politics, although they usually do not have relevant experience.
Competent developers take care of the audience and establish deep connections with various groups of people. They realize all the significance of exploring the real needs and problems of users, instead of undermining the existing way, just for the sake of experiment.
Pioneer technologies often harm users. But technology companies do not notice this, the adverse reaction of people does not affect them. They are isolated from the end consumer, and a negative side is almost not reflected in their financial indicators.
Minorities, which are usually not included in the development process and therefore do not have any influence on technology companies are the most vulnerable.
7. No agency can take control of the entire industry
If a company violates the rules and exploits consumers, journalists intervene in the case. They investigate abuse and criticize the enterprise. If the problem remains, then government departments such as municipal, federal and even international are connected to the process.
Everything is different with technology companies. Usually, the media inform about the launch of pioneer products or the release of new versions of products, which already exist. Nevertheless, some journalists cover the social aspects of technology, but their columns are lost in the context of new smartphone models reviews and rarely fall under the “Business” or “Culture” heading.
The media itself is partly to blame. Thus, business reporters often do not understand technological terms even at a basic level, which would be unthinkable if they wrote about finance or law.
At the same time, technology journalists understand terminology, but they have to write about new releases, and not about social and civic issues.
The problem is compounded by the attitude of politicians. Many boast of their digital illiteracy. How can technology regulation be entrusted to people who cannot even install the application on a smartphone? The technology market is constantly creating new challenges, but the clumsy system of legislation does not have time to adapt to changes.
As a result, companies exist almost out of regulation, and ordinary users suffer from this. Because companies rely on unconventional business models, they cannot be influenced by traditional activist methods such as, for example, boycotts and protests.
Today, the lack of responsibility is the main problem of the technology industry. But it is not over yet. If we learn to realize the balance of power in the technology market, it will be easier for us to trigger positive change. For example, we know that companies invest in finding talented programmers. This means that developers should urge employers to resolve ethical and social issues.
At the same time, investors should be aware that it is a risk to invest in companies that do not benefit society. And specialists who lack a historical and cultural base need to be given the necessary knowledge so that they make the right decisions. There is a chance that understanding the principles of the technology market will help us to solve global problems.
8. Most technology is not a startup product.
15% of programmers only are engaged in working upon startups, and in large technology companies, most of the employees are not related to software development. The belief that developers are in charge of all technological processes distorts the idea of technologies in general.
About the author: Melisa Marzett is a successful author of plenty articles about anything and everything. She is very curious by nature and has always been an enthusiastic reader. Working for proofreaders , she travels throughout the world. She enjoys discovering things, meeting new people an other cultures gaining experience and sharing.