Fight about the ethics, not about the tools

I've come to "hate" most development languages, sames as I don't really "love" any operating system, but it seems in our current society people must always take sides. You cannot just have a set of tools and choose whatever is best for the job: "Using still SQL? Dude, NoSQL is the future!", "Server-side code, are you from the past? Javascript-all-the-things!", "Scripted languages? Nothing like going down the metal with C++!". No matter what you choose, there will always be an opinion against it. No matter the choice, it will always look wrong to somebody somewhere.

There will always be fanatic tech wars, but there is something that I don't see many fights about: Fights about if something is ethical to do.

Let me start with a story I directly lived. At one of my previous jobs, one of the things from the company that hooked to join them me was that they had moral values: they donated a yearly % of total earnings to NGOs. Once in, we had the opportunity to work in a project related to image recognition that was related to the Spanish Department of Defense. Instead of saying "yes, show me the money" it was voted internally and rejected for being related to military. We declined a project for being unethical and related with weapons and wars.

I've sometimes had to do things I was not happy with, be it directly building projects I didn't believed in or participating in others I wasn't happy or proud to be a part of due to some of its uses. I had once an internal fight and educated but firm boycott, I've always tried to express concerns and I openly say things I don't like. But I'll definetly avoid to work doing things that do harm instead of good. There's the saying "never say never", but I'd have to be really really desperate to work with the military. At my current job, anybody can install the opensource version and we cannot easily control that, but at least there's people building great things with the product, and that makes me happy enough despite possible "wrong uses".

I'd rather sleep well and feel I'm at least not doing any harm to the world rather than earn more money. If to be successful is to suffer the loss of ethics and moral, I'd rather be a mediocre player in the game.

Sadly, years later the same company "was able" to employ a few consultants on the very same Spanish Department of Defense. Money changes people and ideals, but fortunately I had already left.


Posted by Kartones on 2015-04-05