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99

How To Kill Your Tech Industry

A cautionary tale about how sexism helped destroy British computing

by Marie Hicks

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Hicks, M. (2018). How To Kill Your Tech Industry. Logic Magazine, 5, pp. 99-120

117

Computing history shows us that the “computer revolution” was never really meant to be a revolution in any social or political sense. People who were not seen as worthy of wielding power were deliberately excluded, even when they had the required technical skills. To a great extent, that process continues today. Now, as then, hierarchies are constructed through high tech to preserve powerful social and political structures.

—p.117 by Marie Hicks 3 weeks, 6 days ago

Computing history shows us that the “computer revolution” was never really meant to be a revolution in any social or political sense. People who were not seen as worthy of wielding power were deliberately excluded, even when they had the required technical skills. To a great extent, that process continues today. Now, as then, hierarchies are constructed through high tech to preserve powerful social and political structures.

—p.117 by Marie Hicks 3 weeks, 6 days ago
119

[...] The stock market bubble of the first internet boom did not herald a warmer, fuzzier era of more democratic computing. It inaugurated a new era of “greed is good,” and in the process, Silicon Valley learned that it could actively profit from social inequality. The only catch was it had to be willing to manufacture ever more of it, selling technological “advances” that were actively harmful to a progressive civil society under the guise of technosocial progress.

The dynamic continues to this day. Silicon Valley reaps enormous profits at the expense of the majority of users, and calls it progress. But technology’s alignment with actual progress has a long and uneven history, and its effects are rarely straightforward or fully foreseen. Real progress isn’t synonymous with building another app—it involves recognizing the problems in our society and confronting the uncomfortable fact that technology is a tool for wielding power over people. Too often, those who already hold power, those who are least able to recognize the flaws in our current systems, are the ones who decide our technological future.

—p.119 by Marie Hicks 3 weeks, 6 days ago

[...] The stock market bubble of the first internet boom did not herald a warmer, fuzzier era of more democratic computing. It inaugurated a new era of “greed is good,” and in the process, Silicon Valley learned that it could actively profit from social inequality. The only catch was it had to be willing to manufacture ever more of it, selling technological “advances” that were actively harmful to a progressive civil society under the guise of technosocial progress.

The dynamic continues to this day. Silicon Valley reaps enormous profits at the expense of the majority of users, and calls it progress. But technology’s alignment with actual progress has a long and uneven history, and its effects are rarely straightforward or fully foreseen. Real progress isn’t synonymous with building another app—it involves recognizing the problems in our society and confronting the uncomfortable fact that technology is a tool for wielding power over people. Too often, those who already hold power, those who are least able to recognize the flaws in our current systems, are the ones who decide our technological future.

—p.119 by Marie Hicks 3 weeks, 6 days ago