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To understand what’s going on in the world, we need to understand (for the most part) the men who rule the global superpowers. But I also wish those leaders had fewer consequences and took up less of our brain space.
What technology tycoons of the 21st century like Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos and Jack Ma believe and can do is important. But when we focus on executives, sometimes we don’t realize that ordinary people, not poobah, do technology when we experience it. Wikipedia’s volunteer editors, online community moderators, Uber transporters, and teacher teachers translate and shape what tech bosses create a reality for the rest of us. .
My colleagues and I write extensively about the handful of tech companies that shape our communication with each other, our shopping habits, our relationships with government, our jobs, and our culture. The mammoth organizations like the tech giants are not one-man programs, but the leaders have enormous influence.
When we talk about the power of technology companies to change the world, what we really want to say is the power of Bezos, Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai, Tim Cook and Satya Nadella to influence billions of people. – whether we (and they) are aware of it or not.
It’s not a decision spreadsheet that pays Amazon employees at least $ 15 an hour and affects the salaries of other employers. Nothing important happens at Amazon unless Bezos wants it. Zuckerberg designed Facebook as the absolute ruler, and his beliefs have been coalesced into Facebook’s bones.
If Elon Musk doesn’t pursue a mission to destroy fossil fuels, governments and major car companies probably won’t have plans to destroy conventional cars. The company’s conflicting agendas, plus individual missions between Apple executives and Facebook, Amazon and Tesla, are guiding the future of the Internet and space exploration.
It’s important to understand how these people tick and how their mind works as their decisions are so important. And humans – even the people running technology companies – are not robots. All of our choices are shaped by who we are, our life experiences, and our friends.
But I also wish that the tech power brokers were not that important, even at their own firms.
The people moderating the Reddit and forums Get rid of the worst abuses on Facebook perhaps better understand technology CEOs how internet companies’ designs and policies shape our behavior online. Delivery agents working on delivery apps like DoorDash have more reasons than anyone to poke at the flaws of their salary-setting software. Teenagers who create TikTok dance influence what people do in their living rooms for entertainment.
Tech bosses don’t always predict how people will react to their creations. It is the people in the tech trench who live on the benefits of technology services and their pitfalls, perhaps even more so than the generals in Silicon Valley. If they have more influence on the technologies we use, how could things be different?
It’s necessary but not enough to get into the minds of the world’s top tech bosses. As technology creeps into every moment of our lives, there are a lot of unknown people who primarily take over bosses’ beliefs and preferences and remake them in ways that affect all of them. me.
We can try to understand the world around us by understanding the minds of leaders. Or we might pay attention to what the digital life leg soldiers are doing. We need both.
Before we go …
Where extremists can make a lot of money: The live-streaming site Twitch has become a place for right-wing figures to spread the conspiracy theories about the election and the coronavirus vaccine, said my colleague Kellen Browning. In some cases, live streamers use an Amazon-owned website as a forum to promote their merchandise or solicit donations.
Lyft is abandoning self-driving cars: The company is selling driverless vehicle technology research to a division of Toyota. Uber also kicked off its self-driving car project a few months ago.
Here’s my newsletter from last year on why driverless car technology is harder than most people expect. (The startup I wrote later, Voyage, recently sold itself to a larger company.)
Do online thrift stores encourage excess shopping? People buying second-hand clothes for resale have become a huge draw on TikTok, YouTube and shopping app Depop, Vox reported. But some sellers worry that the trend is making used clothing more expensive for those who need it.
Watch a dog “win” in a relay race in high school in Utah. The runner is Gracie Laney. Dog athlete was Holly, who got out of freedom and couldn’t resist sprinting on the track.
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