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The battle over tech's values
If you’ve paid attention to the news in the last decade, you’ve probably noticed a negative turn in sentiment towards the tech industry, sometimes called the tech “backlash.”
Ask people what caused this backlash, and you’ll likely hear about how the unchecked spread of misinformation on tech platforms caused regulators to step in, triggering a public reckoning with tech’s impact on the world and its moral legitimacy as an industry. I’ve personally never resonated with this story; it simply doesn’t match my experience working in tech.
So I tried to tell the story I saw, where the tech backlash is explained not by surface-level media events, but a deeper clash between two generations of power in America, who each built their wealth in a different way, and accordingly have different views on how to shape the world and its future. That piece, published with Tablet Magazine, is out today.
I don’t think any essay has ever caused me so much grief. I started writing the first draft last summer, and since then it’s been through at least six major revisions (or perhaps that’s just when I lost count). It took just as long to find great editors to work with, who understood what I was trying to say and could help bring it into fruition. (Many thanks to Alana Newhouse and David Sugarman for their patience and hard work!)
I hope you’ll give it a read and let me know what you think. You can check it out below.