Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech
A revealing look at how tech industry bias and blind spots get baked into digital products—and harm us all.
Buying groceries, tracking our health, finding a date: whatever we want to do, odds are that we can now do it online. But few of us ask why all these digital products are designed the way they are. It’s time we change that. Many of the services we rely on are full of...more
There is no doubt in my mind that this is true, and on that basis, I’d recommend this to anyone in or outside of tech. We product builders and designers are doing a crap job of acknowled ...more
- Edge vs Stress
- The 'select one' being the problematic idea
- The default settings of our lives (and everything else)
- Q: metrics are only as good as the goals and intentions that underlie them (c)
- Q: inappropriate, trying-too-hard, chatty tech products. (c)
- “marketing negging”
- The unlikely delights of Q:'1-800-Flowers purchase particularly relevant to a Scorpio' ©
Quite a lot of problematic issues. Precisely the ones that lead ...more
From Uber's severely regressive h ...more
Against a backdrop of increasingly ubiquitous technology, with every online interaction forcing us to expose parts of ourselves, Sara Wachter-Boettcher weaves a challenging narrative with ease. With ease, but not easily. Many of the topics covered are confronting, holding a lens to our internalised "blind spots, biases and outright ethical blunders".
As Wachter-Boettcher is at pains to highlight ...more
Overall, this book helped me reflect a bit deeper on the team that I work on, especially the ways in which it can perpetuate bias and be insensitive. It also made me reflect on how conscious my tea ...more
One of the cases here which I didn't know about (but am really not even slightly surprised,) was about how a woman with a gym membership couldn't use her badge on the women's locker room. The reason, of course, was because they had used title (Mr., Ms., Mrs., etc) as a way of selecting the correct ...more
First I'd thought of recommending it only to programmers - there's a bunch of stuff on personas and other design techniques that are not of interest to 'regular' humans - but then it branches ...more
Still enjoyed this overall though!
Technically Wrong by Sara Wachter-Boettcher argues that many of the products and services designed In Silicone Valley are inherently, though not necessarily intentionally, biased. As the many programmers are caucasian and male, the products they design do not always meet the desires and needs of the much more diverse market. Thus they accidentally exclude whole groups of people, who instead turn to more inclusively designed prod ...more
It does a little good job of highlighting a lot of the recent problems with the current state of "tech" and the dangerous place it's in right now. It was kind of weird to read something talking about a bunch of internet drama that I remember watching unfold in real time. Also nice to learn more of the factors leading up to the incidents.
Overall there wasn't much in this book that I hadn't heard about before ...more
It will change how you think about many things and how design works against people - marginalizes whole subsets while trying to make something cutesy.
How we write marginalized people off for jobs they can do easily because we are looking for things we don't associate with white men but are associated with white men. Like CS degrees and years of experience coding professionally.
We cannot break the pattern if we perpe ...more
Nothing new if you are a part of tech and keep up with the problems in tech products and culture. But if you don’t keep up with tech exposés and news this is good reading.
I really like the idea of not thinking in “edge cases” but in “stressors” to see how resilient your system is. The end is a good reminder that when the your engineers do not reflect the demographics of the user base, as an engineer you need to be humble to correction by users.
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She helps organizations make sense of their digital content, and speaks at conferences worldwide.