Part V: Constructive Contributions
How can technology criticism mature? How can it be more constructive? How can it pose alternatives and be more impactful by seeking to influence design, policy, and adoption of new technology?
How can writers avoid the pitfalls and clichés of technology writing? What can constructive technology criticism accomplish in bringing together instead of tearing apart? How can criticism reach specific audiences to affect change?
- Sarah Jeong, “How to Make a Bot That Isn’t Racist,” 2016268
- Jonathan Zittrain, “Facebook Could Decide an Election Without Anyone Ever Finding Out,” 2014269
- Tim Wu, “Book Review: ‘To Save Everything, Click Here’ by Evgeny Morozov,” 2013270
- Bruno Latour, “Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern,” 2004271
- Karen Levy, “The Case for Precise Outrage,” 2016272
If algorithms are the secret sauce, how do we hold companies accountable for their proprietary practices? How can critics responsibly cover fast-moving and glittery tech narratives with limited resources and technical access or skills?
- Tom Hamburger and Matea Gold “Google, Once Disdainful of Lobbying, Now a Master of Washington Influence,” 2014273
- Julia Angwin, Jeff Larson, and Surya Mattu, “Machine Bias,” 2015274
- Nick Bilton, “The Secret Culprit in the Theranos Mess,” 2014275
What does constructive technology criticism look like in practice? To what extent must constructive alternatives and solutions be limited to the opinion section? What are the benefits and drawbacks of the form? Who is best positioned to wrote this form of criticism?
- Zeynep Tufekci, “Volkswagen and the Era of Cheating Software,” 2015276
- Kate Losse, “The Art of Failing Upward,” 2016277
- Evgeny Morozov, “Why Growing Old the Silicon Valley Way Is a Prescription for Loneliness,” 2015278
- Jonathan Zittrain, “Don’t Force Google to ‘Forget,’” 2014279
- Susan Crawford, “The New Digital Divide,” 2011280
How can writers encourage change by speaking directly to engineers and designers within the technology community? What authority do writers need in order for their message to reach Silicon Valley effectively?
- Anil Dash, “Who Makes Your Apps,” 2015281
- Anil Dash, “Toward Humane Tech,” 2016282
- Tristan Harris, “How Technology Hijacks People’s Minds,” 2016283
How do future scenarios help us think through social impacts and ethical questions in concrete, relatable ways? Whose visions are represented in these futures? How does one report from the future without effectively writing fiction? Are futures the unique purview of criticism? How can critics responsibly discuss future scenarios while avoiding sensationalized and reductive dystopian or utopian visions?
- Rose Eveleth, Flash Forward, 2015–2016284
- Rose Eveleth, “The ‘Kitchen of the Future’ Isn’t Just Retro, It’s Regressive,” 2015285
- Alvin Toffler, Future Shock, 1970286
- Joanne McNeil, “Postcards from the Futch,” 2015287
Critical Engineering and Design
How can we provoke discussions about technology by posing and building functional alternatives? What means can we use to express critique beyond the written word?
- Lauren McCarthy and Kyle McDonald, pplkpr, 2015288
- Julian Oliver, Gordon Savičić, and Danja Vasiliev, “The Critical Engineering Manifesto,” 2011289
Living with Technology
What does criticism offer the average informed reader? How can criticism empower users with frameworks for thinking about our everyday lives with technology?