Way back when, in the days before Mark Zuckerberg’s treachery was a trending Twitter topic, the tech industry was said to have boundless potential to improve the world. Plus, there was boundless money to be made! Then the trolls, criminals, predators, and demagogues marched into the public squares that tech built, and the tragedy of the digital commons unfolded on a global scale. And big tech wasn’t averse to monetizing that, either.
So tech was disastrously tarnished — until a few weeks ago, when, torn from our open-plan offices and trapped in our homes, we discovered the digital tools that connect us are lifelines. Those of us lucky enough to continue working as the economy implodes are compulsively embracing collaboration software, from project planners to videoconferencing apps. Suddenly, public appreciation for what engineers labor tirelessly to build has risen again.
While it’s great to explore what can be accomplished with