EDITORIAL: Is The Tech Industry “Evil”? A lot Of Americans Think So, And That’s A Problem

Mercury News

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) From Silicon Valley’s treatment of women to its reliance on H1B visas and issues surrounding technology and privacy, the tech industry may have a serious image problem on its hands. This editorial from the Mercury News makes the case that the tech industry as a whole is creating an image that threatens to overwhelm the positive impact tech has on the U.S. economy.

Mercury News

The U.S. technology industry, personalized as Silicon Valley, is under attack. And it’s not just Steve Bannon ranting about “lords of technology” who steal Americans’ jobs, wealth and opportunity.

The reasons for the attacks, some perceived and some real, aren’t new. But they have reached a scale that Bay Area industry cannot ignore.

A few examples:
–The New York Times Week in Review section Oct. 14 featured a scathing article headlined “Silicon Valley is not your friend.” It argued that tech’s Big Five companies, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft, have concentrated wealth and power to a degree that threatens our democracy.

–The Atlantic magazine has published several articles this year faulting tech, including one saying, “It’s getting harder to believe in Silicon Valley.”

–Wired magazine, noting “the backlash growing toward the tech industry’s overwhelming power and wealth,” just Wednesday posted the story “New York: The pious alternative to evil Silicon Valley.” A photo accompanying the story shows a New York City billboard with the message, “I’m frustrated as #%*&! in Silicon Valley.”

A barrage of media attention to its treatment of women, reliance on H1B visas and disrespect of Americans’ privacy is creating an image that threatens to overwhelm the positive impact tech has on the U.S. economy.

It was tech that yanked the nation out of its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. It has led in job creation for the past eight years — a spectacular run that, at least economically, made America great again.

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