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Silicon Valley Has Lost Its Soul

Silicon Valley Has Lost Its Soul
The BriefGet Up To Speed

Silicon Valley once promised to solve many of the world’s problems with a technological revolution. But now, the tech hub is the center of much scrutiny, and for many, that scrutiny is warranted. From privacy violations to flawed business models to a lack of diversity and representation, Silicon Valley has seemingly betrayed its idealism. And though technological progress has notably enriched a few, Silicon Valley has failed to deliver its promise to all. Has the prioritization of profits and conformity of thought corrupted its original “do good” agenda? Proponents argue no: Silicon Valley’s critics are simply overreacting. After all, it is still the center of innovation, and the tech giants have revolutionized the way we think, shop, communicate, and experience our lives for the better. Do big tech’s detractors simply expect too much from lucrative corporations? Or has Silicon Valley lost its soul?


"In 2008, it was Wall Street bankers. In 2017, tech workers are the world’s villain."

Saturday, December 16, 2017
Erin Griffith

"Silicon Valley is a name that is synonymous with the technology industry, but when and how did this small area of California become the center of the tech world? The area's transformation happened gradually, over a period of more than 100 years."

Tuesday, May 30, 2017
Corey Protin, Matthew Stuart and Matt Weinberger

A list of the world's top tech companies. 

Monday, July 16, 2018
Jeff Desjardins

A conversation with Peter Thiel and Marc Andreessen, "Silicon Valley luminaries, epic entrepreneurs and prominent financiers."

Monday, April 29, 2013
Peter Thiel and Marc Andreessen
For the Motion

"Can Silicon Valley recapture the hold it once had on our imaginations? Probably not. That’s for the best."

Sunday, September 30, 2018
Siva Vaidhyanathan

"Whether its Facebook’s horrific privacy violations, the excesses of Uber’s bro culture, or concerns about Amazon’s labor practices, Silicon Valley’s reckoning is well underway."

Tuesday, May 29, 2018
Tim Wu
"A sector that once promised revolutionary change is finally hitting its backlash."
Friday, July 31, 2015
Don Peck

"Wall Street has long been the industry people love to hate. But as big tech’s reputation plummets, suddenly a job at Facebook doesn’t seem so cool."

Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Olivia Solon

"Technology companies can no longer turn a blind eye to the human rights abuses of one of their largest investors."

Friday, October 12, 2018
Anand Giridharadas

"Tech companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to improve conditions for female employees. Here’s why not much has changed—and what might actually work."

Saturday, April 1, 2017
Liza Mundy
Against the Motion

"And that's the true value of Silicon Valley. It serves as a beacon - a sort of Statue of Liberty for the 21st century, if you will. It is the one thing that unites the hacker in Kiev with the protester in Istanbul. However, unlike the Statue of Liberty, those who seek it do not have to cross oceans in steerage, a simple Internet connection will do."

Sunday, July 14, 2013
Greg Satell and Digital Tonto

"Defeating global poverty is the latest start-up trend. But is there really an app for that?"

Monday, June 24, 2013
Charles Kenny and Justin Sandefur

"Through the digital platforms, social networks, technology and products it designs and controls, the Valley’s startups and power brands can rapidly influence our global society at scale. But how do we make the most of this impact, for people and the planet?"

Friday, March 24, 2017
Celine Herweijer

"It's crowded. It's expensive. It's also still growing and creating plenty of good jobs."

Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Justin Fox
"Employees at several of the world’s biggest technology companies have been exercising newfound political power where they work, pushing their bosses on business ethics with help from established and fledgling nonprofit groups."
Friday, July 13, 2018
Joseph Menn

"Silicon Valley has failed to fill the massive unmet needs of the social sector on issues ranging from poverty and education to human rights and the environment."

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Jim Fruchterman
Algorithms & Tech Addiction
"Algorithms are aimed at optimizing everything. They can save lives, make things easier and conquer chaos. Still, experts worry they can also put too much control in the hands of corporations and governments, perpetuate bias, create filter bubbles, cut choices, creativity and serendipity, and could result in greater unemployment."
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Lee Rainie and Janna Anderson

"From policing and healthcare to defence and dating sites AI is being woven into the fabric of our lives – for better and for worse."

Friday, November 3, 2017
Ian Sample

"As Facebook shapes our access to information, Twitter dictates public opinion and Tinder influences our dating decisions, the algorithms we’ve developed to help us navigate choice are now actively driving every aspect of our lives."

Sunday, May 20, 2018
Adriana Stan and Mihai Botarel
"Algorithms are driving behaviors that may very well be inadvertently targeting society's most vulnerable."
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Thomas Koulopoulos

"A better analogy is our modern love-hate relationship with food. When grappling with the promises and pitfalls of our digital devices, it helps to understand the similarities between our technological diets and our literal ones."

Thursday, February 1, 2018
Robbie Gonzales

"Computers are inheriting gender bias implanted in language data sets—and not everyone thinks we should correct it."

Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Will Knight

An interview between Sean Illing and Hannah Fry about her new book "Hello World: Being Human in the age of Algorithms."

Monday, October 1, 2018
Sean Illing

"My experience is a reminder that artificial intelligence, often heralded for its potential to change the world, can actually reinforce bias and exclusion, even when it’s used in the most well-intended ways."

Thursday, June 21, 2018
Joy Buolamwini
"Most of my fellow tech entrepreneurs oppose government oversight. They’re wrong. Good rules create healthy markets."
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Marcus Ryu

"US Representative Ro Khanna favors tougher review of tech mergers and an 'Internet Bill of Rights' for users."

Monday, April 30, 2018
Scott Thurm

"In wake of violence in Charlottesville, one technology company after another shut down or cut off service to right-wing accounts and sites."

Thursday, August 24, 2017
Elizabeth Dwoskin and Hamza Shaban

A conversation between Wall Street Journal's Rolfe Winkler and LinkedIn's co-founder Reid Hoffman.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018
Rolfe Winkler

"The stampede of media coverage focusing on digital disruptions and the sins of Silicon Valley excess is fueling momentum for Big Regulation. Bill Gates, among others, has warned that current behaviors are a path to government intervention."

Friday, March 30, 2018
Mark P. Mills

"[I]t’s vital that we take the time to develop our own approach — one that will provide protection without stifling American innovation that has made Silicon Valley the technology leader around the world."

Monday, April 23, 2018
Melissa Blaustein

"Legislation that puts consumer information and choice first could build trust across the ecosystem. If policymakers follow the lead of Europe and California, however, many of these technological solutions could be blocked."

Thursday, September 27, 2018
Bret Swanson

"Bias is necessary for life, even though bias sometimes gets things wrong."

Wednesday, September 12, 2018
Mark Jamison
Silicon Valley Labor Movement

"Employees at Google and elsewhere are protesting their bosses’ business decisions. Will that evolve into a more sustained labor movement?"

Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Rick Paulas

"In a tech-dominated world, when the decisions made by a handful of Silicon Valley executives have the ability to reshape nations and transform billions of lives, there’s no better time to stand up. Together, you can encourage your employers to behave in ethical and humane ways, and blow the whistle publicly when they fall short."

Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Kevin Roose
American Jobs & Silicon Valley 

"But the truth is, most companies aren’t really trying to change the world. They’re trying to build a solid product and make a lot of money, which is tough enough without having to worry about social impact."

Tuesday, January 12, 2016
Aneesh Raman

"Ultimately, the folks on the House floor—and elsewhere in DC—may be the most urgent audience for this image of a kinder, more generous Silicon Valley. In order to improve infrastructure, develop the local workforce, or create affordable housing, the region will need federal cooperation, as well as cooperation from other states."

Monday, May 15, 2017
Nitasha Tiku

"This report, the tenth in a series of Bay Area Economic Profile reports produced since 1997 by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute and McKinsey & Company, examines the region’s economy over the last decade, as it has emerged from the Great Recession to enter a new period of immense growth and innovation."

Sunday, July 1, 2018
Bay Area Council Economic Institute

"Our impending housing crisis forces the uncomfortable question of what type of society we would like to be."

Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Frederick Kuo

"The protests that swept through Silicon Valley and Seattle in the last two weeks were not motivated by short-term financial gain. If you want to understand why tech employees went to the mat against Mr. Trump’s executive order barring immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, you need to first understand the crucial role that America’s relatively open immigration policies play in the tech business."

Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Farhad Manjoo
Global Perspectives

"Silicon Valley is the new Rome. As in the time of Caesar, the world is grappling with an advanced city-state dominating much of the planet, injecting its technology and ethos everywhere it lands and funneling enormous wealth back home."

Thursday, June 9, 2016
Kevin Maney

"The West Coast is a growing target of foreign espionage. And it’s not ready to fight back."

Friday, July 27, 2018
Zach Dorfman