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Jeff Bezos is wrong, tech workers are not bullies
I decided to leave my job as a staff engineer at Google because of Project Maven, and because I believe that the artificial intelligence ethical guidelines they published afterwards were not strict enough: they allowed surveillance within “internationally accepted norms”.

I am now joining forces with current and former Google employees who also opposed Maven and the Dragonfly search engine. We do not wish to be complicit in human rights violations and we believe that workers, and the public, deserve a voice. We support employees at Amazon, Microsoft, Salesforce, McKinsey and Deloitte who have similarly stood up to their employers.

We also have a right to not contribute to killing. Most workers at Google or Amazon did not join those companies to work on military applications. Both companies are international employers with engineering offices across the world, and many of their workers are neither US citizens nor residents. I worked as an engineer in Google's European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. To me, the US military is not our military (as Google Cloud chief executive Diane Greene referred to it in a blog post), nor is it a force we should automatically support as a matter of patriotism.

As an engineer, I believe it is my responsibility to speak up for human rights and accountable decision making. As an industry, we in technology cannot compromise our principles or allow ourselves to be bullied by billionaires who stand to be enriched by our silence.
project-maven  dragonfly  google  amazon  surveillance  us-politics  politics  ai  silicon-valley  ethics  work  life 
1 hour ago by jm
Power, Pleasure, and Profit — David Wootton | Harvard University Press
We pursue power, pleasure, and profit. We want as much as we can get, and we deploy instrumental reasoning—cost-benefit analysis—to get it. We judge ourselves and others by how well we succeed. It is a way of life and thought that seems natural, inevitable, and inescapable. As David Wootton shows, it is anything but. In Power, Pleasure, and Profit, he traces an intellectual and cultural revolution that replaced the older systems of Aristotelian ethics and Christian morality with the iron cage of instrumental reasoning that now gives shape and purpose to our lives.

Wootton guides us through four centuries of Western thought—from Machiavelli to Madison—to show how new ideas about politics, ethics, and economics stepped into a gap opened up by religious conflict and the Scientific Revolution. As ideas about godliness and Aristotelian virtue faded, theories about the rational pursuit of power, pleasure, and profit moved to the fore in the work of writers both obscure and as famous as Hobbes, Locke, and Adam Smith. The new instrumental reasoning cut through old codes of status and rank, enabling the emergence of movements for liberty and equality. But it also helped to create a world in which virtue, honor, shame, and guilt count for almost nothing, and what matters is success.
books  history  capitalism  europe  ethics  philosophy  argument 
yesterday by kmt

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