Our reliance on technology has focused our wealth in the US, making San Francisco home to the most billionaires per capita of any city. Almost all are white men, transgender. Silicon Valley’s long-standing wage disparity is widening, replicating the racial and class hierarchy that reduces the value of domestic and unskilled and odd jobs, and at the same time The manpower cost is disrupted, making it easier for us to order groceries or takeout food. This backward side is always hidden from view, which helps us to ignore it and be preoccupied with it.
Before the pandemic, grocery delivery app Instacart reportedly raked in hundreds of millions of dollars and struggled to make a profit. In March, the company quickly hired 300,000 workers to meet demand at the height of the pandemic. As independent contractors, they are not eligible for healthcare benefits (although the company has promised to pay for 14 days if they receive a Covid-19 diagnosis or are required to isolation). Instacart is currently valued at more than $ 17 billion; Many of its workers say they earn almost no minimum wage. A pandemic may expose class inequality, but technology exposes one group of people to their health risks while others afford to sit at home in amplified comfort. and reinforce those inequalities.
Most tech companies have a clear stance on how their culture supports their most vulnerable workers. Alice Vichaita, head of global interests at Pinterest, told me that the company is trying to build a “culture of inspiration” for its employees, focused on mental happiness, which which the company considers “a prerequisite for an inspirational life”. During the pandemic, mood board search engine provided creative masking tutorials and made statements in favor of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Meanwhile, at the company there was turmoil: In June, Ifeoma Ozoma and Aerica Shimizu Banks, two former Black employees, broadcast reports of racism and gender discrimination. and paid unequal wages, and in August, rough Françoise B, the company’s former chief executive officer. , sued Pinterest for gender discrimination. The mismatch between outside services and corporate internal operations is showing a dichotomy present in the tech industry – the desire to realize unity rather than enacting policies that prove it. Pinterest does not admit any liability in the case of sandy B (whites), but has paid out the amount of $ 22.5 million. Ozoma and Banks are said to have left with half their annual salary. There’s simply no free therapy or other corporate healthcare perks that can offset the toxicity of racism and gender discrimination in the workplace.
At the end of January, I attended – that is, I logged into Zoom at a designated time – to a talk show called “How Technology Made Us”. I have been trying to deal with the stress of relying on mindfulness through an internet oriented to disrupt it. The day opens with a short period of time, maybe 10 minutes. Even though I’ve been meditating for a longer period of time, my brain itches and power slips and anything else it wants but dissolves into nothingness. Not being able to become a pillar of peace sitting in front of the empty screen I use for work and entertainment, which is irresistible to silence and invisible charm.
Randima Fernando, a teacher during the lecture, told me later: “We went around with the seeds of dissatisfaction and the feeling that something could have been better. “And the way we should navigate that imperfection is to go for a walk or meditate, but instead we have access to supercomputers in our pockets.” The first noble truth of Buddhism is that life contains unavoidable suffering. The second is largely due to craving and a desire for material possessions, a need that can never be satisfied. Much of the technology is designed to convince users that it can alleviate that suffering through on-demand access to information, other people, food and entertainment. But more often than not, it speeds it up.
For example, social media monetizes the urgency of wanting and there are economic incentives to keep us engaged, dissatisfied, searching, believing there is something to consume, which Something better to do, learn or buy. Buddhism teaches that there is no quick fix and that apps like Calm are better at promoting relaxation services – and profiting from them – than actually delivering them in a meaningful way. Fernando told me: “Mindfulness is not about reducing stress and is more about reducing discontent through direct investigation of our experiences. “But reduce marketing stress more successfully and certainly more likely to win a download or company account.”