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The social responsibility of coding

3d65a0bc911de24fde5e58d84b0276af?s=47 Liz
January 14, 2017

The social responsibility of coding

The power of technology is in its vast reach and scale, as well as its adaptability. We build fast and break things, but what happens when we build fast and make decisions that have real-world ramifications? The impact of our work can be as small as only ourselves, or as large as the world. Understanding our social responsibility as creators is the first step to creating ethical, sustainable, and useful technology.



January 14, 2017


  1. The social responsibility of coding Liz Abinante • @feministy

  2. harsh topic, liz. sorry about that….

  3. but first, a story

  4. a farm in kansas (no, this isn’t about dorothy and

  5. IP mapping isn’t exact science

  6. IP mapping as pseudoscience

  7. 39.8333333,-98.585522

  8. 39.8333333,-98.585522 ‑ 38.0000,-97.0000

  9. 7 billion people 4.2 billion IP(v4) addresses

  10. 600 million IP addresses (approximately 14% of all IPv4 addresses)

  11. you are being harassed by strangers because of your IP

  12. a toilet is in your driveway because of your IP

  13. your house is being raided because of your IP address

  14. all because of an ugly number

  15. you are powerless. who do you ask for help when

    no one is held accountable?
  16. we are building things that harm people

  17. we are building things that harm people why are we

  18. technology is powerful because it has vast reach

  19. technology is powerful because it’s adaptable

  20. None
  21. None
  22. technology is problematic because it erases people

  23. None
  24. None
  25. None
  26. technology is frivolous because it’s easy and cheap

  27. None
  28. technology is dangerous because it goes unchecked

  29. None
  30. None
  31. we are building fast and making stupid things

  32. we are building fast and breaking things

  33. we need to think about some hard questions

  34. we need to understand our social responsibility

  35. when things go wrong, who is held accountable?

  36. is our consumption of technology responsible?

  37. are we using ethically produced technologies?

  38. are we creating ethical technologies?

  39. are we as individuals responsible for the impact of our

  40. when do we become responsible for the things we create?

  41. are we responsibly gathering data and keeping it safe?

  42. consent is like a cup of tea. for your data.

  43. our impact

  44. what we do is not isolated to ourselves

  45. everything we do has an impact on others

  46. how big can the impact of one tiny action really

  47. levels of impact

  48. yourself

  49. family & friends yourself

  50. community family & friends yourself

  51. country community family & friends yourself

  52. world country community family & friends yourself

  53. world country community family & friends yourself

  54. what impact do you want to have?

  55. what impact do you want your work to have?

  56. a single decision, many ramifications

  57. left-pad disaster

  58. twitter block policy

  59. product decision or business decision?

  60. left-pad disaster

  61. twitter block policy

  62. every product decision is fundamentally a business decision

  63. not about business needs versus engineering

  64. we cannot absolve ourselves of responsibility just because we don’t

    make the decision
  65. we need to own responsibility for the things we create

  66. impact meets responsibility

  67. the bigger the impact, the harder it can be to

    hold someone responsible
  68. …unless it’s a totally catastrophic and very public thing

  69. the larger the impact, the larger the consequences

  70. world

  71. country (& government)

  72. community (local & technical)

  73. family & friends

  74. yourself

  75. what do we do?

  76. understand why you’re building the thing

  77. learn more about the business

  78. collaborate with a team

  79. think about resources

  80. talk to your colleagues

  81. be inquisitive

  82. thanks! bye! liz abinante • me@liz.codes • @feministy slides speakerdeck.com/feministy

  83. • Pineapple laptop https://unsplash.com/search/keyboard?photo=vb_V6W1nmeA • Farm https://unsplash.com/photos/lzbFllF05XY • Sad pug

    https://www.pexels.com/photo/pug-portrait-dog-closeup-47444/ • Alone https://unsplash.com/photos/_VTgctRg0tA • Group https://unsplash.com/photos/e5EioBQmH8c • Crowded street https://unsplash.com/photos/NGGpOyniTuY • United States https://unsplash.com/photos/1lfI7wkGWZ4 • Globes https://unsplash.com/photos/mluSdDeOksc • “Code” (lol) https://unsplash.com/search/computers?photo=68ZlATaVYIo • Keyboard https://unsplash.com/photos/feXpdV001o4 Images
  84. • Theranos http://fortune.com/2017/01/12/arizona-lawsuit- theranos/ • Blue Apron https://www.buzzfeed.com/carolineodonovan/the-not- so-wholesome-reality-behind-the-making-of-your-meal •

    Uber http://www.theverge.com/2016/12/12/13920258/uber- employees-tracking-celebrities-security-lawsuit Articles