Software is politics. I wrote that back in 2016, arguing that the digital services we all rely on should not just be designed for ease of use–they also need to be understandable, accountable, and trusted.
Viewing software as politics is about more than tech, and it’s about more than ethics. It’s about the idea that, if politics is about the distribution of power in society, then software is inherently political. How that power is managed and the choices about who it is put to work for are the political questions of our age.
If 2016 was the year it became impossible to ignore the power software exerts on society, then today, in 2018, we can start to identify some signals about what the levers of control might be. Are there reasons to be optimistic? Which companies are using trust as a competitive advantage? What organizations are showing how the power of tech can be held to account? Here are six themes that are emerging.