Saw the term “Techlash” for the first time today, but of course the idea has been on my mind for a while now: That the tech world is reeling from a mountain of accusations from playing fast and loose with our personal information, exploiting it’s view of our every move (online and off), and bullying competitors by flexing it’s unregulated muscles.
Insensitive algorithms, bro-culture… people are frustrated at how much technology has altered our quality of life, and they’re struggling to see how it has made things better. Our lack of autonomy has become frightening: We have become increasingly unable to spend time without looking at our screen, increasingly unable to remember the things we can easily look up on google, and persistently beckoned by our devices that employ psychological tactics to keep us hooked.
I’ve been feeling a tension for a while now about Big Tech’s value system, and how opposed it has become to my own. How can I continue to write about the aspects of technology that I feel still have integrity, when so much of what’s going on feels nefarious? To tell the stories and highlight the products that I feel good sharing? I assure you, there are bright spots: Companies that are truly doing right by consumers— respecting our privacy and trying to solve real life problems. Connectivity that pulls us together, and makes the unthinkable possible. But the others who want to move fast, break things, and step on our privacy and safety to get to their huge valuation? They’re ruining it for the rest in the court of public opinion.
We can’t control Big Tech, but we can control US. We have to be a lot more discerning with what tech we allow into our lives and what we turn away from if we want to resist being totally consumed. All our lives could use a little digital decluttering, Marie Kondo style, so that our personal information is a little less exposed, and our attention is less at risk. This kind of digital minimalism is everyone’s personal responsibility— only adopt the apps, gadgets and screen endeavors that help you feel good, thrive, solve meaningful problems in your life, and discard the rest in favor of time spent with people you live, pursuing meaningful work and hobbies, or — even more vital for your happiness and wellbeing— time spent doing nothing at all.
What are your thoughts on the “Techlash” of 2018? Where do we go from here, and what changes are you making in your own life to readjust?