Ultimately we must demand that tech designers and decision-makers become accountable stewards of technology, able to advance social welfare. For example, the Algorithmic Justice League has launched a Safe Face Pledge that calls on organizations to take a public stand “towards mitigating the abuse of facial recognition analysis technology. This historic pledge prohibits lethal use of the technology, lawless police use, and requires transparency in any government use”53 and includes radical commitments such as “show value for human life, dignity, and rights.” Tellingly, none of the major tech companies has been willing to sign the pledge to date.
Nevertheless, there are some promising signs that the innocent do- good ethos is shifting and that more industry insiders are acknowledging the complicity of technology in systems of power. For example, thousands of Google employees recently condemned the company’s collaboration on a Pentagon program that uses AI to make drone strikes more effective.54 And a growing number of Microsoft employees are opposed to the company’s contract with the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): “As the people who build the technologies that Microsoft profits from, we refuse to be complicit.”55 Much of this reflects the broader public outrage surrounding the Trump administration’s policy of family separation, which rips thousands of children from their parents and holds them in camps reminiscent of the racist regimes of a previous era.
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