Tech Industry

'Silicon Valley' star says tech companies don't care about ethics

Commentary: Kumail Nanjiani, the hit HBO's show's Dinesh, scorns Facebook and Twitter for their attitudes toward fake news.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

Saturday Night Live - Season 43

He's worried we're heading into the Valley of Death.


Facebook, Google and Twitter sent their lawyers to twist in the wind in front of Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Somehow the notion of sending, say, their CEOs to answer difficult legal and moral questions didn't seem quite right to them.

This vexed one of Silicon Valley's most vibrant personalities. Or, rather, "Silicon Valley"'s.

Kumail Nanjiani -- Dinesh the coder in the hit HBO series -- took to Twitter on Wednesday to express his concerns, based on his experiences with the truth of tech companies.

In a tweetstorm of some passion, the actor -- who's also enjoyed a hit movie "The Big Sick" this year -- suggested that Valley companies talk out of the side of their laptops.

He began by explaining that he was being tortured by certain thoughts that wouldn't leave his head.

And they're amazing, wonderful, necessary products, right?

Ah, but what's obvious to a real human being doesn't necessarily exist in the minds of a Silicon Valley engineer.

They're moving fast, breaking things and making the world a better place. Without, that is, wondering too much about what the world thinks at all.

Nanjiani, though, offered a painful tale.

Zero? But tech companies express such care about our privacy. Especially in the terms of service that we agree to without reading.

What's stunning to Nanjiani is how little, in fact, tech companies seem even to think about ethics.

He specifically named two companies that he believes are at fault.

Neither Facebook nor Twitter immediately responded to a request for comment.

For Nanjiani, though, the situation is grave. He believes that "tech has the capacity to destroy us."

Indeed, it could start with just one ill-judged tweet leading to a nuclear war.

He believes that, at heart, there are no guardians of what tech has wrought. "It's terrifying," was his tweetstorming conclusion.

It is. For too long, powerful tech companies have enjoyed taking on power and influence, while ignoring the responsibilities that might come with it.

Some might say it's hardly surprising, given that many of these companies were created by youths with egos far larger than their life experience.

It's possible, though, that a few days of reckoning might be at hand.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared on Wednesday that he realized the situation was so serious that he was even prepared to sacrifice, gosh, profits, to fix abuse on its site.

Will the tech world finally become older and wiser? Or will it just keep rolling along as it has, continuing to insist that nothing is its fault?

Perhaps it will merely hope that one of its most vaunted characters gets elected president?

That would make us all sleep easier at night, wouldn't it?

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