How would you feel if your company's doings hit the news headlines?
The last word in Computer History Museum's talk about cyber privacy was Headline. Other poignant words were Question - we must ask ourselves if what we are doing is ethical; it may be legal only because the lawmakers haven't noticed or acted on what we are doing yet. If it is not sustainable, investors should take heed. Subversion was mentioned along with Fragility - as in how easily our systems and political processes can be hacked - with or without the help of those running the systems.
The evening's debate was with the team behind the documentary The Great Hack about Cambridge Analytica and the role Facebook - and half the cookies on your device - is playing in making your mind a commodity for sale. The documentary is playing on Netflix and is a must see for understanding the tech backlash and our current political climate.
The evening's debate is available to you - on Facebook. (Computer History Museum's Live YouTube channel will show it if you don't want to use Facebook.)
Too many scientists - in the broad definition of that word - follow their curiosity without considering what the implications might be if their discoveries were used for no good. What may start out as a cool research project or "friendly neighborhood app" may have turned into a nefarious rip off because something "interesting" could be monetized. The people who knows when this happens are working within the tech companies. If business practices can not survive to see the light of day, they should probably not be allowed to continue.
Thus, one of the main take aways from the talk is that the world needs whistle blowers. It might be you. Your country needs you!
"Move fast and break things" is funny - except if the things are democracy, decency, our mutual values... Or as Karim Amer, the director of The Great Hack, said: "if you break it, you should pay for it."
Now, Sheryl Sandberg, is the time to lean in. Next week may come with a search warrant.