Thursday, April 12, 2018

What's really wrong with Facebook?

Apologies for diverging toward politics, but recent events illuminate how desperately we need to re-engage the arts with science, and how few of the people running things are clued into this need. So get out there and explain it to them, people!

Mark Zuckerberg's performance before Congress this week makes me want to punch him right in the forehead. Again and again, he crashes through our culture like a bull in a china shop, offering nothing but tepid apologies and weak, floral pronouncements about how all he really wants to do is Buy The World A Coke (TM). He has literally nothing else to offer every time his company finds itself at the center of yet another unprecedented cultural calamity. He has proven himself utterly incompetent to deal with the forces he is messing with, but won't get out of the way, either.

Unfortunately, Congress isn't much better and doesn't seem to know what to think about the whole mess, either. They weakly wring their hands and tell Zuckerberg he needs to do better, hoping the willful infant somehow figures out a way to control himself and his company, in spite of zero incentive to stop the wrecking ball swinging.

You know what I desperately wanted to hear someone ask during these hearings?
"Mr. Zuckerberg, how many humanists and philosophers does your company employ? Is there anyone on your staff even remotely qualified to explore the moral issues surrounding the technology you continue to fling out into the world without apparent thought or consideration? 
And, aside from that benefit, wouldn't hiring some people from the arts and humanities go a long way toward addressing the Silicon Valley diversity crisis you acknowledge, but refuse to actually address?"

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