Tim Berners-Lee on the huge sociotechnical design challenge

Coding must mean consciously grappling with ethical choices in addition to architecting systems that respect core human rights like privacy, he suggested.

“Ethics, like technology, is design,” 

“As we’re designing the system, we’re designing society. Ethical rules that we choose to put in that design [impact the society]… Nothing is self evident. Everything has to be put out there as something that we think we will be a good idea as a component of our society.”

If your tech philosophy is the equivalent of ‘move fast and break things’ it’s a failure of both imagination and innovation to not also keep rethinking policies and terms of service — “to a certain extent from scratch” — to account for fresh social impacts, he argued in the speech.

He described today’s digital platforms as “sociotechnical systems” — meaning “it’s not just about the technology when you click on the link it is about the motivation someone has to make such a great thing because then they are read and the excitement they get just knowing that other people are reading the things that they have written”.

“We must consciously decide on both of these, both the social side and the technical side,”

“[These platforms are] anthropogenic, made by people …  Facebook  and Twitter  are anthropogenic. They’re made by people. They’ve coded by people. And the people who code them are constantly trying to figure out how to make them better.”

Source: Techcrunch