Guardian: Technology’s “Ethical Egotism”

Pretty harsh editorial in The Guardian newspaper today about “ethical egotism” in the tech industry that puts “profits over people,” as Silicon Valley creates “companies that ruthlessly exploit consumers and workers.”   

The left-leaning newspaper makes its point to try and persuade Britishers that SV’s motivations “should not be emulated,” then trots out a series of examples that show how the country is headed in the wrong direction:

  • After the UK lifted the restriction on homeowners renting out property for less than three months, in hopes of spurring the “sharing economy,” it actually squeezed out the rental market and was a bigger boon for Airbnb than anyone else.

  • Uber is a huge success not so much for reinventing travel but because it circumvents laws about safety and insurance, while using customer data to figure out who will accept higher prices.

  • Big data isn’t being used to improve humanity, but to divide individuals into “worthy” and “unworthy” segments.

“We should not be creating companies that ruthlessly exploit consumers and workers. We don’t need Silicon Valley; we need responsible capitalism,” the op-ed concludes. We couldn’t say it better ourselves -- in fact, we’ve already tried in this space, numerous times.