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ACM Opinion

Fair Warning

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Abeba Birhane is a Ph.D. candidate in Cognitive Science at University College Dublin.

The tech industry currently holds unprecedented power and influence. Its companies have reached vast market capitalizations, employing hundreds of thousands of workers, and reshaping a range of other industries to accommodate its prerogatives. On the academic front, work in tech-related fields such as artificial intelligence and machine learning secures funding with relative ease, its merit and necessity seemingly taken for granted.

What emerges from this is a portrait of technology as inevitable progress that must, despite its inevitability, be fully embraced without hesitation. For the tech evangelist, artificial intelligence research is self-evidently necessary, the next triumph in the ever-rising pyramid of human achievement and progress.

The truth, however, is that the tech industry hardly concerns itself with human welfare and justice. Its practices have been starkly opposed to protecting the welfare of society's most vulnerable.

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