Addressing the unethical design of tech

Photo by Ales Nesetril on Unsplash

Remember the days when Facebook was a just place to post unedited photos or spontaneous jokes on our friends’ walls?

Take me back to those simpler times 😭

It’s undeniable that the internet has drastically transformed the way we connect with others. I know I am personally grateful for being blessed with a medium that enables communication through memes and gifs. All joking aside, the web and our digital products have opened up so much opportunity for humans to experience the world in ways not possible before.

However, as depicted in The Social Dilemma, it doesn’t come without its costs. The documentary unpacks the dark, exploitative, and manipulative side of tech that much of the general public may still be completely unaware of.

After finishing the film, I was left pondering…

How might we reimagine the social network model to best serve the communities that use them?

As long as the businesses profit off of our attention and personal data, the system will continue to serve against humanity’s best interests.

One solution that could solve the root cause of the problem: decentralized social networks. Borrowing from the idea that no central system (the central banks) should control our money, decentralized networks would give users autonomy and control over their data while ensuring transparency on a public ledger.

Blockchain technology allows data entries to be stored in servers anywhere in the world. Transparency is built into its foundation, as the data can be viewed at anytime by anyone on the network.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

One such example, Steemit, a community platform similar to Reddit, rewards its users for creating or curating original and engaging content. Unlike other social media platforms, Steemit operates on the blockchain, allowing it to run in a decentralized manner that gives full autonomy and control to the users themselves. Furthermore, the built-in rewards system incentivizes users to focus on the quality of the content they share and generate. Imagine you getting paid for posting that compelling video or insightful article, instead of the media platform!

While an entirely user-owned and operated system will run into its own set of problems, I believe it’s a huge step in the right direction, and I know I’m ready to embrace a future where we reclaim our data, our behaviors, and our conscious.

Product designer based in LA 🌞 Tweeting @amyyang0110