Some weeks, tech ethics is in the news. And some weeks, it IS the news. This week was one of the latter.
There were so many ethically fraught news stories about technology companies over these past few days, I had trouble keeping track of them all. So I’m delighted that my latest interviewee for this series on ethics and technology is TechCrunch’s own Kate Clark, a reporter covering startups and venture capital.
Kate is one of the tech reporters on whom I rely most heavily for insight into what the hell is going on in Silicon Valley, and not just because she’s prolific, a fine writer, and so hardworking she seems to attend every VC dinner and startup product launch in Northern California (though she is all of those things).
I also turn to her (well actually, I turn to her Twitter — we’ve never met in person) because, though she would never claim to have any special training or authority in ethics, she has three of the top qualities I look for in an ethical leader: a passion for equitable inclusion; a well-modulated bullshit detector; and enough compassion for humanity to expect better of us all.
When Kate and I spoke on Wednesday afternoon, she was as harried as you might expect, at least based on her tweets.
Alright anyone else that tries to generate headlines today is selfish and rude and must be stopped!!!
— Kate Clark (@KateClarkTweets) September 25, 2019
Greg Epstein: I’ve been looking forward to talking to you for a while now, and I certainly picked a busy day.
Kate Clark: Not as bad as yesterday.
Epstein: I follow your work closely; it informs mine. I’m sitting here in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I work, and I’m thinking about the ethics of technology.