Tech’s Time to Shine and Re-Build Trust With Society

I’m going to keep today’s note short and sweet. For one, we are now in a shelter in place in the Bay Area and that has caused a bit of chaos in many of our worlds. On top of that, a friend had an issue with his sheep who was giving birth today so I had to run over and help the situation.

Right now it feels as though there are chaos and turmoil. Humans are panicking as many of their worlds have been disrupted, turned upside down, and fear and panic are resulting. As I observe the totality of the situation, it strikes me that right now is the time for big-tech companies, and the technology industry as a whole to shine and rise to the occasion.

For some time now, tech companies have been getting a bad reputation and being viewed more like evil entities than friends of humanity. This is a golden opportunity for leaders in the tech industry to rally together and rebuild trust in society and around the world.

This starts with something like misinformation and presents a massive opportunity for Twitter, Facebook, and more to start managing how better they sort and present trusted information as this is a critical time for people to rely on information they can trust.

Interestingly, I have really appreciated how Apple News is handling curating important news related to COVID-19. In case you haven’t seen it, the first page of Apple News, at the top, has this highlight.


As opposed to going to Twitter early each morning as I drink my coffee, I am going to this section of Apple News for all the latest information. This is not to say I don’t find valuable information related to the outbreak on Twitter, but that I’m not sure what I can trust on Twitter and right now I care more about having confidence in my information and maybe having less information than I do having too much information and wasting time figuring out if it is credible.

Facebook has felt like a total waste of space when it comes to anything related to the virus because people in my feed are sharing content that fits their narrative. Either this is the end of days or it’s no big deal it seems based on the variety of content I see. Facebook has been the most frustrating place to frequent during this crisis.

But, now is the time for all these companies to see this as an opportunity to showcase their best approach to these problems and play a helpful role in helping us get past it. This is, likely, the most impactful global event since World War II, and it represents an unprecedented need for technology to do the right thing for humanity. Those who fail may only increase the negative posture many people and governments have toward technology.

It has been encouraging to see tech companies offer many of their tools for free to institutions who need it. While that is a win-win business case, the reality is it creates a positive posture that will help these companies look better in the public eye.

I have also wondered if the companies who play this right, Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc., who may have come into some government regulatory speculation may also come out of this with a changed tune. For example, I think a reasonable question would be if breaking apart a company due to regulatory issues would actually hurt the global situation in case of a catastrophe? Would a company be able to respond as quickly to a global crisis if the government was to burden them with restrictions? These are not questions faced before when big tech was bad, but if big-tech can help prove good, and in light of the situation we find ourselves in, these are interesting questions in the here and now!

I want to be optimistic in my outlook on current events and look at the positive scenarios that could play out. Ultimately, this is a massive test for everyone. For individuals, for businesses, for governments, and for leaders. I genuinely hope we have more who pass than fail this moment in time which will go down in history books.

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Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio

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