Getting Tech Right — A Pragmatic Guide to Thinking About Tech

Getting Tech Right — A Pragmatic Guide to Thinking About Tech” explores issues around how technology shapes our society and how to think about these issues better.

It’s aimed primarily at funders and policy makers in that space but is relevant to a much broader audience.

Getting Tech Right (GTR) consists of two components:

  1. A podcast featuring a series of interviews with leading experts in this space
  2. A book or similar long-form publication

This research and the podcast are both supported through my SPECIAL PROJECTS membership program.

The Podcast

Getting Tech Right is a series of interviews exploring issues around how technology shapes our society and how to think about these issues better. The podcast is hosted by Peter Bihr and Patrick Tanguay:

Peter Bihr explores how emerging technologies can have a positive social impact. As an independent advisor he works at the intersection of technology, governance, policy and social impact with foundations, public sector and private sector. He also co-founded ThingsCon, a community of responsible technologists. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterbihr.

Patrick Tanguay is founder, curator, and publisher of Sentiers Media, which gathers the most interesting ideas to bring context, sense, and understanding. Sentiers helps contextualize the changes in technology and the many ways in which it transforms society. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @inevernu.

You can find Getting Tech Right on Apple Podcasts, Transistor.fm, Spotify and most other podcast directories. Here’s also the RSS feed.

Episodes

Most recent on top:

Julia Kloiber is the co-founder of Superrr, a lab and a community that works towards more equitable futures. She also co-founded Prototype Fund, a program that funds the development of open source civic tech, and many other notable projects at the intersection of emerging tech and the common good.
In this episode we discuss equitable futures, experiences working as an outsider with public administrations, and how to get risk-averse funders to be more open to experiments.

Links


Michael Lenczner works at the intersection of technology and the nonprofit sector, he runs Ajah and Powered by Data, and serves on several nonprofit boards and advisory groups related to technology, democracy, and the nonprofit sector. We discuss the importance of translating between fields and their different lenses, open data, open government, managing change, the flow of information, and adapting new technologies, methods, and possibilities for nonprofits.

Links


Michelle Thorne is an activist for climate justice and a fossil-free internet. In this episode, we talked about the climate impact of the web, about the need for systemic approaches to tackle the climate crisis, and about how climate justice and a greener internet are directly related.

Links


Patrick Tanguay is a curator and thought partner, which is to say: His work is all about making sense of the world. He publishes a popular weekly newsletter, Sentiers. He’s also going to be the co-host for this podcast from now on, so we chatted about how we think about tech & society, about the inherent tensions and trade-offs we see, and about how we can work towards better, more inclusive thinking about futures.

Links


Anab Jain is a world-renowned designer, futurist, filmmaker and educator. She co-founded and is the Director of Superflux, a new kind of design studio that specifically responds to the challenges and opportunities of the twenty-first century. In this episode, we discuss immersive futures, diverse and inclusive sensing and sense-making, and the power of speculative evidence.

Links


Iskander Smit is a designer, researcher and academic who explores connected systems, IoT and smart cities, and the role of connected things in design and in our environment. In this episode we discuss unintended consequences, the limits of human-centered design, and how to design the public technology stack.

Links


Di Luong is a researcher, technologist and ethnographer who has been exploring issues around public interest technology, social justice and algorithmic bias. On this episode we discuss risks of algorithmic bias, how technology intersects with social justice, and the larger role of public interest technology.

Links


So-called “Smart Cities” are full of wicked problems that don’t have clear solutions. So who gets to make the rules for a “Smart City”? Simon Höher heads the Hybrid City Lab, the urban & public design unit of Berlin-based innovation firm zero360. Since 2014 he also co-chairs ThingsCon, one of Europe’s leading initiatives for building a responsible Internet of Things.

Links


Every product has a plot, and we should know what it is. Jon Rogers is a professor at the Northumbria School of Design, and a creative technologist who has been researching the intersection of trust, IoT, AI — and specifically voice assistants.

Links


The Book

In the Getting Tech Right book, I plan to distill in the most accessible way what I’ve learned from the last decade or so of working with designers, developers, entrepreneurs, policy makers, foundations and others and give some guidance as to how to approach responsible tech.

What do I mean by that? We’ve been seeing a surge in talk about responsible tech (or ethical tech; choose your adjective as you see fit). All too often, these discussions are side tracked into the all-too-abstract by questions of definitions. Also, different groups use vastly different language: Designers, foundations and policy makers each look at different aspects of the issue, act on different stages, use different terminology and tools. Some look at the input side, all the way upstream, others at the outcomes downstream. Even the best-meaning actors in that space have a hard time navigating the bigger picture. To successfully navigate this space, we need a guide.

So, in this book I’ll distill the advice I’ve gathered over the years of working in this space. There’ll be advice in here for those who want to make more responsible tech, like companies and designers and entrepreneurs. And also for those who work with responsible tech in other roles: advocates and activists, foundations and policy makers and researchers.

It’ll be getting some of the definition issues out of the way, give some concrete advice in terms of approaches and methods, offer some clarifying language to discuss these things, some analytical lenses to work with. And also lots and lots of sources and references to the research already out there for those who choose to dig deeper.

In the end, this needs to be extremely accessible: As jargon-free as possible, and short enough for a busy professional to actually read. A classic brief primer.

I plan to release this as part of the unlocked commons, meaning that you help put this out into the world for those who could not otherwise access it; and possibly make it available in alternative formats (like print on demand, or formatted for MOBI or EPUB) for a fee, released under Creative Commons.

The SPECIAL PROJECT membership is the best way to support this.

Join as a MONTHLY MEMBER (€10 net) or as a YEARLY MEMBER (€100 net).