A Responsibility Shortage In The Tech Sector

BOSTON (WBZ-AM) -- The lights went out on the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas yesterday, a fitting allegory for the fading luster of some of the pillars of the tech sector.

And according to yet another one of the founders of the tech ascendancy, former Facebook vice president for user growth Chamath Palihapitiya, it’s not a power outage that’s turning the business from the idol of millions into a source of outrage – it’s a responsibility shortage.

Like Facebook co-founder Sean Parker before him, Palihapitiya lashed out at the core of Facebook’ appeal – “the short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created” in which users become addicted to hearts and likes and other online forms of immediate gratification – blaming them for “destroying how society works.”

“We have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric,” he said. “No civil discourse, no cooperation, misinformation, mistruth…. Bad actors can now manipulate large swaths of people to do anything they want…. It is eroding the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other.”

This gent and Parker aren’t the only tech bigwigs to denounce the Frankenstein they built. Former top designers at Google and Twitter have made similar charges.

And if you think the negative impact of this mass manipulation is someone else’s problem, you might want to talk to your kids about it.

They’re the ones who are most at risk from this insidious mass programming, the ones growing up in the era of online addiction, the ones clinical professionals are increasingly worried about.

What to do about it? Mr. Palihapitiya says he doesn’t let his kids use Facebook and he doesn’t use it either.

And I look forward to seeing how those tech moguls intend to persuade the rest of us we shouldn’t follow suit.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. Listen to his previous podcasts on iHeartRadio. 

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