Facebook, Dynamite, Uber, Bombs, and You.
C2 | Fri 25 Jan | 11:35 a.m.–12:20 p.m.
Lana Brindley has been playing with technology since that summer in the 80s when she got eaten by a grue. She has been writing since she could hold a pencil, and is currently writing technical documentation for SUSE after spending many years hanging around in the OpenStack community and generally making a pest of herself. Lana enjoys going to technical conferences to talk about stuff that has been buzzing around in her brain for too long, and also to make sure she leaves the house from time to time. While she isn't generally a technical pessimist, she read _IBM and the Holocaust_ recently, and has been looking at technical development with a wary eye ever since. She's fairly certain the future robot overlords will be benign. Mostly.
Consider these two cases: Volkswagen was caught out having written software code that allowed their cars to cheat emissions tests. Uber also developed software (called 'greyball') which allowed them to cheat law enforcement officials trying to crack down on ride-sharing. The difference is that Volkswagen software engineers went to jail, and Uber software engineers didn't. Why? Because one is a car company, and one is a software company. Most industries have had what we might call an "oh no" moment. It's those moments that encourage industries to become better regulated, in order to prevent further disasters. The IT industry has had many moments that could be considered consequential enough to encourage better regulation, but the changes have never been made. Because the industry has avoided effective regulation for so long, it is possible that we are hurtling towards a disaster of epic proportions, one that we haven't even managed to conceive of yet. In this talk, I will go through some historical examples of disasters leading to regulation in other industries, and the measures that were put into place to mitigate the problem. I will also address some of the major moments from the IT industry that should have prompted regulation, and haven't. Finally, I will discuss ways that IT professionals can blow the whistle on potential disasters before they happen ... without losing your job!