- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (October 10, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780393634631
- ISBN-13: 978-0393634631
- ASIN: 0393634639
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 26 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech 1st Edition
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From School Library Journal
Those with hyphenated names often encounter difficulty when filling out online forms, and there's usually no option in the drop-down menus for those who are multiracial. Social networks show us the year in review with jaunty music and animation, without acknowledging that some of our most popular posts may be about tragic events we don't want to remember. In straightforward prose, Wachter-Boettcher lays out a convincing and damning argument about the small daily failures and large systemic issues that stem from Silicon Valley's diversity problem. With plenty of examples and studies, she illustrates how systems are designed to be used by people like the creator—usually privileged cisgender heterosexual white men. Anyone else is seen as an "edge case" and not worth worrying about. Along the way Wachter-Boettcher thoroughly deconstructs many of the excuses offered for technology's lack of inclusivity, including the pipeline issue (or the idea that outside of white male demographics there isn't enough talent) and the concept that an algorithm can be neutral. VERDICT This engrossing volume is important for readers of all ages, especially the next generation of developers.—Jennifer Rothschild, Arlington Public Library, VA
“If a book on design in the technology industry ever deserved a standing ovation, this one is it. Sara Wachter-Boettcher has laid out a concise case for digital product makers to work with a broader range of people. And that means working with people unlike themselves as both makers and consumers, and from start to finish.”
- John Maeda, author of The Laws of Simplicity
“Technically Wrong offers one of the deepest, most thoughtful views on exactly how today’s tech is affecting us, and at how we could change those apps for the better. It’s an essential guide for people who care about ensuring that today’s tech is humane and ethical.”
- Anil Dash, CEO of Fog Creek Software
“Sara Wachter-Boettcher is exactly the kind of sharp, informed and deeply compassionate critic of the tech industry that we need right now. Technically Wrong makes a strong case for adding basic humanity into the algorithms of the digital products that define the age. It's an invitation for all of us to think more deeply about our connections to others in any medium.”
- Sarah Kaufman, Pulitzer Prize-winning critic, author of The Art of Grace
“No matter how we set the preferences, the results turn out the same. For all of digital technology’s supposed configurability and customization, there’s a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all quality to the apps and platforms we use, pushing conformity over individuality and acquiescence over identity. Sara Wachter-Boettcher reveals how none of us can, or should, live up to the image our technology has of us.”
- Douglas Rushkoff, author of Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus
“An entertaining romp that tells us where and why the tech industry, once America's darling, went wrong, and what it might do to recover its good graces.”
- Tim Wu, author of The Master Switch
“Just as the current political climate has inspired many to pick up a sign and head out into the street for the first time, I hope Technically Wrong will inspire newcomers to start thinking more critically about the apps and algorithms around them.”
- Anna Lauren Hoffmann, Science
“Wachter-Boettcher clearly demonstrates the ways digital products are deeply connected to the intentional and unintentional biases of their designers in this approachable primer on digital technology.”
- Publishers Weekly
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Wachter-Boettcher helped me put my finger on exactly why the use of personas in technology and marketing initiatives has always struck me as flawed, describes in excruciating detail why Twitter is so awful, walks us through the numerous failings of Facebook, and reminds us that technologists need humanists for human-centered technology to work. Editors, historians, and user advocates should not be sidelined.
She also does a great job illustrating why diversity is so important to technology projects and Silicon Valley, and how the bro culture is utterly failing many real-world tests. Their arrogance is their ignorance.
What impressed me the most is that this is a relatively slim volume, yet I found myself wowed consistently. It is the opposite of those books that could have been magazine articles but were fluffed out to be books. This is a distillation of what could have been many books, and it's done expertly. A lot of value for the time spent. Kudos.
After reading, you will be armed with a new attitude toward product development, and can be better equipped to ask hard questions or stand up against bad decisions in your project pitches, daily standups, planning meetings, or issue queues. Stop bad decisions where and when they are being made.
Good read for designers, developers, project managers, sales, marketing, C-levels, and everyone else — if your organization produces websites or apps, you need to read this book.
It's very readable, with a good mix of personal stories case studies along with more detailed explanations of technology and decision making. I bought a second copy to give to family members who love to complain about social media/tech/Silicon Valley and will really appreciate the behind-the-scenes details.