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OneZero
The undercurrents of the future. A publication from Medium about technology and people.

Activism

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Big Technology

The Incite.org founder and activist investor shares her view on how innovation should improve the lives of everyday people

OneZero is partnering with the Big Technology Podcast from Alex Kantrowitz to bring readers exclusive access to interview transcripts with notable figures in and around the tech industry.

This week, we’re joined by Swati Mylavarapu, a founder at Incite. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

To subscribe to the podcast and hear the interview for yourself, you can check it out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Overcast.

Swati Mylavarapu is a tech investor and activist who spent $2 million in the 2020 election cycle on Democratic causes, in partnership with her husband, Nest co-founder Matt Rogers. Mylavarapu…


Big Technology

In a new interview, the tech labor activist and A.I. researcher discusses major issues in Silicon Valley today

Meredith Whittaker
Meredith Whittaker

OneZero is partnering with the Big Technology Podcast from Alex Kantrowitz to bring readers exclusive access to interview transcripts with notable figures in and around the tech industry.

This week, Kantrowitz sits down with Meredith Whittaker, an A.I. researcher who helped lead Google’s employee walkout in 2018. This interview, which took place at World Summit A.I, has been edited for length and clarity.

To subscribe to the podcast and hear the interview for yourself, you can check it out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Overcast.

When I interviewed Tristan Harris about The Social Dilemma earlier this month, my mentions filled…


A sea of viral Google Sheets and Docs that break attests to the need for scalable collaboration tools

Google docs icon cracking.
Google docs icon cracking.

For a brief period, panicking international students across the nation found hope in a Google Sheet.

When the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency announced on July 6 that international students who weren’t enrolled in courses meeting in-person could face deportation in the fall, Sumana Kaluvai — the creator of H-4 Hope, a Facebook group that supports students of varying immigration backgrounds — built a system for connecting international students with peers who were willing to surrender their seats in courses that could grant their classmates the right to stay in the country. …


“They want to ‘inspire people to be the change they want to see in the world.’ But, what type of change do they stand for?”

Last month, Disney finally announced that it would re-theme Splash Mountain at Disneyland and Disney World. The ride, based on the racist 1946 movie Song of the South, will now be rebuilt to feature Tiana, the first Black Disney princess and the star of the 2009 film The Princess and the Frog.

Though the problematic nature of Song of the South had been flagged for decades, it was, as many news outlets argued, a Change.org petition with more than 20,000 signatures that finally pushed Disney to make the decision. The articles implied that the petition represented a popular uprising and…


What we learned from social media this week

In the midst of protests over widespread institutional racism, triggered by the murder of George Floyd, a Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter account put out a tweet. “For those who think we have no business as a Sonic site covering what is happening in the U.S.,” it began, “Sonic is wrongly detained by law enforcement in the first minute of SA2, and escaped. The plot + gameplay of Sonic Forces centers around ‘resistance’ rising vs. Eggman’s oppression.”

Over the next few days, I found myself thinking about this tweet. It was at once trivial and awful. Comparing Sonic with actual violence…


Clicktivism is having a renaissance

In the early 2010s, in the wake of the Moldovan parliamentary election protests and Occupy Wall Street, digital observers coined the term “clicktivism” in an effort to delegitimize cyberactivism. Malcolm Gladwell even went so far as to assert that clicktivism (or slacktivism as it is more pejoratively known) lacks “discipline and strategy” and those who champion it “have forgotten what activism is.” A decade later, a new way of organizing is being pioneered on YouTube, a decidedly clicktivist initiative dubbed Views for a Vision that is legitimizing and monetizing passive protesting.

The concept is simple — creators upload videos to…


Neither are perfect, but Facebook might be the lesser of two evils right now

The world has been watching the daily protests and riots caused by the murder of George Floyd. Those following the protests on social media might also be looking for the language, facts, figures, histories, and stories that explain how we got to this point. Journalists and academics work to fill in those gaps, covering the protests and writing about issues of racial injustice. They make threads giving historical context, publish and share reporting, and give book recommendations — largely on Twitter. …


Activists have started to use the game to protest more than Tom Nook’s predatory loans

For years, we have been debating whether or not video games lead to increased violence, and after decades of research, we’re still not entirely sure. But as the 2020 U.S. election looms, a much more urgent question has arisen: Can video games encourage people to get involved in politics?

The answer is probably yes.

For many, Animal Crossing provides a sense of stability in a time of chaos. According to a YouGov poll, 40% of American millennials — the highest figure of any generation surveyed — say they have been gaming more during the pandemic.

Animal Crossing New Horizons has…


For worker movements, digital tools are a double-edged sword

Workers protest against the failure from employers to provide adequate protections in the Amazon delivery hub workplace.
Workers protest against the failure from employers to provide adequate protections in the Amazon delivery hub workplace.

Willy Solis describes himself as someone who never dreamed of being an activist. Last year, the 41-year-old Texan began working for Shipt, a grocery delivery app owned by Target that relies on tens of thousands of gig workers to complete fast, “personalized” deliveries in more than 260 cities across the United States. Shipt sports the airy, pastel positivity shared by many technology startups. As Shippers go about their jobs, Shipt encourages them to embody its corporate mantra: “Bring the Magic.”

But in recent months, Solis grew disenchanted by payment changes that caused many Shipt workers like him to earn less…


Into the Valley

Inside an unprecedented surge of activism in the tech industry

This article is part of Into the Valley, a feature series from OneZero about Silicon Valley, the people who live there, and the technology they create.

On November 1, 2018, thousands of Google workers streamed out of offices across the world holding signs with messages reading “not ok Google,” and “worker’s rights are women’s rights.” In Mountain View, New York City, Dublin, Tokyo, and Singapore, protestors pushed back against the sense that Google was protecting executives credibly accused of sexual harassment.

Seeing tech workers, a group that had long been considered “unorganizable,” flood the streets in protest was something new…

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The undercurrents of the future. A publication from Medium about technology and people.

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