More importantly, it’s working. Attention is being paid by the technology bros, and even changing course. Maybe they’ve suddenly realized something that should have been obvious from the beginning t even get obscenely wealthy without engineers willing to construct their toys.
A little over one year before, I stopped the tech journalism beat. And I thank God I did.
Now, 18 months , I’m gradually beginning to pay attention to tech again. Critically I’m not paying attention to it as a journalist, but rather as a customer. When a few weeks back I finally caved to work pressures and purchased myself a semi-smart telephone, I did about the state of the art beyond what I was told by reviews on sites like CNET and Gizmodo. I installed programs for cloud storage and car rentals with naivety and zero bags on what dreadful thing that week, the CEO of the company behind those services may have done or said. To put it differently, I collaborated with Silicon Valley in the exact same manner as countless people around the world do Not via its executives’ machinations however by its engineers’ innovations.
For seven or six months after stopping, I also stopped using almost all digital tech. I downgraded into a phone, I deleted my accounts together with all non-essential services that were online I eliminated much everything and for a while I even stopped streaming movies and audio.
It’s gloomy to be a consumer of journalism never mind a producer. It’s battle sufficient to see newspaper headlines about Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg enabling neo-nazis or the FSB. I could ’t fathom it has to be to actually have to call their functionaries, or people fuckers, and listen for accelerating the end of culture as they repeat their disingenuous excuses.
I’m out of the technology forecasts business, but looking at the astounding advances made by Valley engineers and also the tremendous power they have over the behavior of their managers, it’s hard not to believe we’re seeing the beginning of a new age in Silicon Valley.
I say ‘resurgence’ since Silicon Valley, and also the tech industry was built around the cult of the scientist. It had been engineers that began it all, and engineers who have been quietly working out as their bosses (a lot of whom would struggle to write, or even read, a lineup of usable code) take all of the credit and a lot of the spoils.
All over the world have been busy developing tools which are delivering on all the claims tech made us before they became fixated on disruption for rsquo & disruption;s sake. That is, they’re making us happier healthier and more connected while — at an engineering level at least — trying to combat bad faith celebrities and trolls, fraudsters, harassers.
So it’s heartening, and possibly unsurprising, to observe those same engineers acting as a counterweight to the greed and selfishness of their managers. It was an engineer — Susan Fowler — that headed the inner revolt that ousted Kalanick. It’s engineers inside Microsoft and Amazon that are demanding their innovations be utilized to wage war or even separate kids from their families. It’s Google engineers who are most vocally protesting the company’s aims to construct a censored search engine for China. It’s engineers that are behind rsquo & the Tech Won;t Build it motion in which engineers pledge not to develop tools for fueling hate or making war.
Seeing the technology sector through those new eyes is refreshing and wonderful: While I’ve ever been off the ecosystem wars (Apple vs Google vs Amazon) have given us amazing advances in voice recognition and the first stages of artificial intelligence. While plain old search has become freakishly good at comprehending intent and context, recognition has warped forward. Packages can be now delivered by amazon .
Looking back it seems pretty clear that I was burned out and sick into the point of Silicon Valley where I wanted nothing to do with any of it. Part of that sickness was likely the inevitable consequence of getting covered the industry for almost two decades. Largely though it originated from my sadness at technology and technology brociopaths had obtained world changing innovation — and turned it in an industry which was unrelentingly toxic.
I state ‘rsquo & reiteration in the early days of Silicon Valley those engineers were white and male. That’s already not true this time round and, if the trend continues, the talent pool is likely to have more varied as it gets stronger.
So I got out. Good for me.
For the first time in years, I feel a glimmer of hope about the way that the tech business is currently taking.
And, by Christ, there’s not enough shame on the planet for the journalistic souls who need to report on anything shitty entity Travis Kalanick does at his firm.