KRISTA TIPPETT, HOST: The technologist and social media influencer Anil Dash has written this of the industry he helped create: “We fancy ourselves outlaws while we shape laws, and consider ourselves disruptive without sufficient consideration for the people and institutions we disrupt. We have to do better, and we will.”
Anil Dash has been an early, vocal activist for moral imagination in the digital sphere, including advocating for metrics that encourage generative behaviors online. This has become a galvanizing discussion since the 2016 presidential election. What is arguably the most powerful industry in human history has entered the lives of most people on Earth with openly world-changing ambitions — but without a deliberate process of ethics, inclusivity, and accountability. With Anil Dash, we explore this unprecedented power, the learning curves we’re on, and how we can all contribute to the humane potential of technology in this moment we inhabit.
MR. DASH: We’re still sounding our way through this incorporation of technology into our lives. And it always does come down to — what are our values? And what do we care about? And what are the things we think are meaningful? And then using that as a filter to understand and control and make decisions around these new technologies. And that’s part of the reckoning I’d ask everybody who’s not in technology to have, is to raise that flag. At the time when somebody says, “You’ve got to try this new app,” “You’ve got to use this new tool,” think through what are the implications of, one, me using this, but two, if everybody does.
MS. TIPPETT: I’m Krista Tippett, and this is On Being.