Former Facebook Privacy Advisor says Silicon Valley Lost its Soul

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In a debate held by Intelligence Squared U.S. in partnership with Techonomy, former Facebook privacy advisor Dipayan Ghosh argues that Silicon Valley prioritizes profits and conformity of thought over ethics.

Soulless Silicon

Arguing for the motion includes Dipayan Ghosh, Noam Cohen, Wired contributor. Arguing against are Leslie Berlin, Leslie Berlin, project historian for the Silicon Valley Archives at Stanford, and Joshua McKenty, vice president at Pivotal, and founder and chief architect of NASA Nebula.

I wanted to share a couple of quotes from the debate that stood out to me.

I can tell you, in 1975, there were congressional hearings. When the — when Congress found out about the Arpanet…Senator Tunny talked about… “Our concern that powerful new technologies, reminiscent of those described almost 50 years ago by George Orwell, will destroy the Constitution’s delicate balance between the powers of the state and the rights of individuals.”

Way back in 1975, before the internet we know today, there were already people concerned about advances in technology.

A lot of the problems we’re blaming technology for are actually problems of media. Media has been rife with this question of, what drives clicks, what drives ad balls, what drives attention? And again, that problem has been around since the printing press. You know, I’m struck that if we were having this conversation five years ago or 10 years ago or 15 years ago, we’d still be talking about the unintended consequences of technology.

Here’s the debate on YouTube:

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Lee Dronick
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Lee Dronick

Facebook had a privacy advisor! Do they have one now?