‘Silicon Valley’ Star Questions Tech World’s Questionable Ethics

Zach Woods, T.J. Miller, Thomas Middleditch, Kumail Nanjiani, and Martin Starr.

Zach Woods, T.J. Miller, Thomas Middleditch, Kumail Nanjiani, and Martin Starr.

Kumail Nanjiani took Silicon Valley to task on Social Media Wednesday for the dubious ethics behind the technology that they unleash onto the public.

In a Twitter thread, the Silicon Valley and The Big Sick actor calls out the people in Silicon Valley and the rest of the tech world who cannot — or will not — come to grips with the ethical ramifications of their products that they design.

“Tech has the capacity to destroy us,” he writes in the thread, where he lays out just how often he’s asked programmers and developers about the moral quandaries of their tech, and just as often, their failure to assuage his fears.

Nanjiani refers to Twitter and Facebook’s mishandling of death threats and other forms of abuse as an example of how Silicon Valley tech companies have become resistant to finding solutions to its owns problems.

The questionable ethics that drive tech have been a well-tread issue in recent months. Some quick highlights: there’s the AI photo-editing app FaceApp’s endorsing blackface and yellowface, Facebook and Twitter disseminating Russia-produced, pro-Trump “fake news” via targeted ads, Google Home recording conversations without user consent, not to mention Facebook and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) tracking individual browsing histories to fine-tune their advertising algorithms, which then market sneakers, skincare products, plush robes or partisan propaganda. (By the way, as tech podcast Reply All noted in a recent episode, you can actually see how Facebook packages you for marketer consumption.)

This is all to say that Nanjiani is terrified of the Pandora’s Box that Silicon Valley has opened up without any remorse.  He ends the Twitter thread on a disheartening note: “Once it’s out there, it’s out there. And there are no guardians. It’s terrifying. The end.”

‘Silicon Valley’ Star Questions Tech World’s Questionable Ethics 7 November,2017Joshua Bote

Author

Joshua Bote

Joshua Bote is an intern for KQED Arts. A senior at UC Berkeley, Joshua previously served as the Arts & Entertainment Editor at The Daily Californian, UC Berkeley’s independently-run student newspaper. His work has been published in the East Bay Express.

He’s deeply enamored with Twitter culture, Carly Rae Jepsen, and love-oriented podcasts. He’s also  slowly learning to appreciate bad award shows. Follow him on Twitter @joshuaboat.

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