Posted in: Tattle, Technology

Cory Doctorow: ‘Technologists have failed to listen to non-technologists’

The tech activist on his new sci-fi novel and why we mustn’t treat the moral downsides of social media as a necessary evil

Cory Doctorow, 49, is a British-Canadian blogger, science fiction author and tech activist. He has worked for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and helped found the Open Rights Group – he is an advocate of liberalising copyright law. He has held various academic posts and is a visiting professor of the Open University. His latest novel, Attack Surface, was published earlier this month.

The protagonist in your new novel tries to offset her job at a tech company where she is working for a repressive regime by helping some of its targets evade detection. Do you think many Silicon Valley employees feel uneasy about their work?
Anyone who has ever fallen in love with technology knows the amount of control that it gives you. If you can express yourself well to a computer it will do exactly what you tell it to do perfectly, as many times as you want. Across the tech sector, there are a bunch of workers who are waking up and going: “How did I end up rationalising my love for technology and all the power it gives me to take away that power from other people?”

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