We all understand the enormous power of computers, software, and the internet—how modern life is vastly different than even 20 years ago. Occasionally this realization will hit us hard, causing us to marvel, but most of the time we just follow the flow of technical “progress.” Where is this leading us?
I would argue that the advancement of technology has no moral or ethical compass. Its direction is the average of the developers’ desires—oftentimes bent directly to the market’s whims. There’s nothing inherently wrong with exercising economic self interest. It’s essential for survival. What we need though, are developers who think about the effect their work has on society—developers with a deep sense of calling.
On the topic of calling, Yale management professor Amy Wrzesniewski says:
“Whatever you do—whether you’re a janitor or the CEO—you can continually look at what you do and ask how it connects to other people, how it connects to the bigger picture, how it can be an expression of your deepest values.”
Amir Taaki, bitcoin developer and Rojava revolutionary, uses the term “hacker” to refer to big-minded developers who craft their work to affect society in a deliberate way.
“…the real hacker never lets his fear or doubt overpower his vision, his sense of duty to use his immense power for good, and his intellectual purity.” (source)
So let’s think big, set out to change the world, and build projects with soul.