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Will Tech Companies Ever Take Ethics Seriously?

As Facebook and its cohort promise to become more ethical, we need a deeper conversation on why they keep abusing our trust

Evan Selinger
Apr 9, 2018 · 13 min read

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And so, despite all the benefits of technology, tech companies have scandalized away the public’s trust.

Isn’t Ethics Just Ineffective Moralizing?

Facebook systematically overvalues AI, engineering, and automation, and devalues compliance, legal expertise, and ethics.

Sometimes, it seems that the major tech companies are drunk with power, believing they’re too big to fail, and so disruptive as to be beyond the scope of being disciplined by mechanisms of the old world order and only cynically willing turn to high-minded ideals, like “ethics” and “corporate social responsibility,” when running interference plays from public relations manuals. Apologies and promises of change can be good crisis management strategies, filled with obfuscation and worse, rather than sincere expressions of aspiring to be worthy of the public’s trust.

Why Design Is Critical to Ethics

This is bullshit. It’s like celebrity athletes saying they want to be in the limelight but don’t want to be considered role models. The very moment tech companies create objects that distribute power by influencing large-scale behavior, they should take responsibility for what they’re unleashing upon the world.

Ethics Education at Work

Ethics Education at School

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