(Note: wow, this reply got longer than I intended. Thank you for your comment, it clearly got me thinking.)
I don’t think it’s particularly otherizing it is to draw practical distinctions between people who work primarily on building new technology products, and people who work primarily doing other things. It takes all kinds, and my intent isn’t to make a value judgement that places technologists above or below any other kind of worker. Maybe I’m misunderstanding your first point, or maybe we just disagree about that?
On the second point, I completely agree. I also think our solutions are not mutually exclusive, we should pursue both. It’s not only unrealistic, but I think it would definitely be bad, if all technologists quit their jobs today and started doing something else.
Technology workers who stay in their field should think more deeply about their impact on the world especially the ethical, social, and political implications of that work. I love the idea of version controlling the law, and using technology tools like Github to make that law more accessible. I love the worker organization we’ve been seeing out of Google lately, including letter writing campaigns and the walk-out over sexual harassment. I love the EFF which brings technology specialists and lawyers together under one roof. I’ve written about this aspect of the solution recently as well.
At the same time I think the points I make in the article stand: we need technology educators and journalists to help the rest of the world grapple with and understand the outpouring of new technologies. We need politicians and legal professionals who have a rich understanding of specific technologies if we hope to regulate them with any degree of success. Groups like the Center for Humane Tech must be created by people who have been embedded in the technology world because they are the ones with enough first-hand experience to accurately identify the problems created by new technologies and how to tackle them.
And honestly, these are just two partial solutions. Diversifying the technology world with an influx of workers who had their first careers in other fields will help. Bringing people with more diverse racial and socioeconomic backgrounds into tech will also help. Prioritizing a higher degree of technology education earlier in schools could help too. And I’m sure a lot of things I’m not thinking of will help as well!