It’s the first week of Extrovirtual and I met two amazing people! Both Liv and Florence had been in my virtual network for some time, but we’d never had a reason to hop on a call and talk until now. We got deep into tech ethics and inclusion, topics that seem to be cropping up in ever-wider circles. In fact, I recently recorded an episode of Betakit’s podcast, CanCon, centred on the latest Facebook data privacy scandal and the part developers and founders need to play in building an ethical future of tech.
Historically, innovation was more incremental, each innovation building on top of something that came before. What makes today’s emerging technologies particularly interesting and complex – especially VR/AR, blockchain, and AI – is that they are all independently powerful innovations, but are advancing at a pace wherein they can be combined and used to propel one another forward. Blockchain and AI have big roles to play in social VR and democratized worldbuilding, for example. And as we look at these vast, unregulated innovations converging, we have to be conscious that what we’re building is helpful to the end users and ecosystem participants, not harmful.
“Privacy is super important,” said Liv Erickson on our Extrovirtual call. Her advice to emerging tech developers? “Think about the ethical implications of what you build, and why you’re building it – and remember that the people on the internet are real people!” Everything we build impacts people whether they are our actual end user or not. Please, for the love of humanity, remember the people.
Florence from QueerIT also shares a passion for ethical tech. QueerIT is a feminist and anticapitalist web design agency based in Montreal, that employs queer, trans, and otherwise marginalized technologists. They’re a new kind of agency that leads with their values – ethics, access, and expression – and works to affect change through the projects they take on and the people they support. It just so happens that the founder of QueerIT, RC Woodmass, is also a Product Designer at my company, Crescendo.
So why only two this week? 1 meeting cancelled because it was new year’s day – understandable. 1 meeting was a no-show. And Monday was technically still 2018! All in all I’d say this was an excellent start to Extrovirtual.
Let me know what you think of this recap, and if you have any requests for how I share these experiences going forward.