January 2, 2019

Tech Ethics New Year’s Resolution: Don’t Build Software You Will Regret

At The New Stack, we talk a lot about avoiding technical debt, but what about the ethical debt? Let’s begin by attempting to define just what ethical technical delivery even is. Black Pepper Software’s Sam Warner at the Good Tech Conf — a conference which focused on technology for social good — simplified this great university philosophy topic, saying ethical software:

  • causes no negative social impact
  • doesn’t make the world worse to live in

At Coed Ethics, another conference dedicated to tech ethics that The New Stack covered earlier this year, Doteveryone’s Sam Brown echoed Warner, saying “Responsible technology considers the social impact it creates and seeks to understand and minimalize its potential unintended consequences.” Doteveryone as an organization is dedicated to supporting responsible technology as a key business driver for positive and inclusive growth, innovation, and trust in technology.

But should those of us building the future’s code feel obligated to contribute something toward social good? Warner argues we should go even further than that and contribute to work that benefits the most amount of people in a significant way.

So, if this is our objective, where do we begin?

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