silicon valley blues

I try not to read articles about the tech industry. I live in San Francisco and have heard it all: techies are insensitive aspie jerks, techies are displacing communities, techies are sexist, techies are racist, techies are ageist, techies are gleefully blind to the problems of real life.

To some degree, all of these epithets are true. These are some of the many reasons why I stayed away from the industry for so long. I don't like being constantly reminded of how terrible it is because it gets me down, and I can't make anything useful when I'm deeply depressed with the world around me. I can't preserve my wide-eyed wonder at what computers can do.

I hate the tech industry. I am also knee-deep in it because I can see technology's potential to help people. I share the dream of a bunch of acid-addled Bay Area brains in the 1960s who envisioned how computers could change the course of history. I think that the term "hacker" should not confer elite status, but imply a humble willingness to keep learning, to keep "hacking" away at a problem until you've developed the tools to solve it.

I believe that the problems technology can solve are not just problems of the privileged. The most impactful technologies do not include hookup apps geared towards well-heeled 23-year-olds with iPhones. But that's what gets funded, and it's frustrating. This is not what we should be doing with computers.