- Audio CD
- Publisher: HighBridge Audio; Unabridged edition (October 10, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1681688611
- ISBN-13: 978-1681688619
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 5.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Customer Reviews: 36 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,735,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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About the Author
Sara Wachter-Boettcher is a web consultant based in Philadelphia and the author of two books for web professionals: Design for Real Life, with Eric Meyer, and Content Everywhere. She helps organizations make sense of their digital content, and she speaks at conferences worldwide.
36 customer reviews
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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.
It will share space with: "Amusing Ourselves to Death", "Four Arguments For The Elimination of Television", and "Trust Me, I'm Lying..", to name a few. As such, it is a perfect complement to Cathy O'Neil's "Weapons Of Math Destruction".
Whereas O'Neil's book spends slightly more time looking at the effects of codified bias in algorithms from a more data-centric view, "Technically Wrong" chooses to approach the problem from a mainly sociocultural perspective.
The problem with "toxic tech", Wachter-Boettcher argues, stems primarily from lack of diversity--racial and gender-wise--and a popular culture that celebrates the "Myth of Tech": idolized genius dropouts, one dimensional CEOs, coding wizards, hyper-competitive fitness bros, and the workaholic young ideal.
These forces combined create a powerful vortex of self-reinforcing monolithic sameness that spreads wildly across our cultural landscape, plucking weeds and flowers alike.
At the end of the day it's all just hot air, really, and the sooner we are able to see past the shiny interfaces, cutesy attempts to engage with our emotions, and socially-blind standards, the closer we'll be to understanding the true price we pay for these conveniences. Not always worth it.
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.
While the examples of these embedded errors are simple, the take-always are clear and stark:
-Online technology products are rife with embedded bias, the result of homogeneous workforces dominated by young, Ivy League-educated white and Asian males trained in computer engineering.
-Hiring at online technology companies must be diversified by gender, race and academic training to produce better products for all users.
-Government regulation might be necessary. For example, some online technologies have explicitly violated fair housing laws.
In the event that author Sara Wachter-Boettcher produces a revised version or a sequel, an additional topic to take up is whether online technologies abet ageism. In addition, it would be interesting to learn more about the impact of technologies that screen the resumes of job applicants. Wachter-Boettcher mentions that such technologies screen applicants to match the profiles of already-successful employees. Does this practice heighten discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, gender or age? If so, it is illegal.