THE SANTA CLARA
May 5, 2016
Silicon Valley exists in a world where business can no longer be just business; companies cannot be just companies. That is, the evolution of the American capitalist culture has fostered an industrial environment that is comprehensively competitive in which companies no longer conduct their business traditionally.
Of course, this goes hand-in-hand with innovation and invention, but it also extends to corporate adaptation of cultural norms. Society has grown more aware of the influences that businesses can have on the well-being of the global community. This requires that ethical and moral decisions (or decisions businesses think are ethical and moral) be made to affect change.
One of the most pivotal hubs of this corporate competition rests in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. The pressures of industrial competition have allowed this region alone to produce a number of life-changing products. However, with this production follows a heightened need to prosper. Technology companies born into this influential environment overlook the importance of affecting positive change that would benefit the well being of people, rather than purely making money. Silicon Valley must recognize this loss of direction in order to harness its potential to be a driving force in the betterment of society.
The advancements in technology arising out of Silicon Valley stand in stark contrast to the region’s inability to create substantial worldwide change. The technological revolution here neglects its potential to generate socio-cultural improvements, and rather, insists on fostering a sort of financial prowess.
Kimberly Bryant, the founder of Black Girls Code, asserts that the rise of these tech companies has only helped to create a bubble that concentrates the focus and profits of innovation. A more diverse approach to technological development might help shift the focus of business from moneymaking to instituting progression. By widening the perspectives of top management, companies would be able to develop products and services that help a larger group of people. Of course, there are those who argue that this bubble does not exist and that. In fact, renowned business woman and philanthropist Melinda Gates believes that Silicon Valley is “innovating in ways that make life better for billions of people.”
However, those who champion the view supporters of the so-called positive impacts from the tech industry rely on miniscule case studies with mediocre results. They point to specific programs such as Kahn Academy and Digital Green, which provide benefits for only a small population.
Obviously, Silicon Valley has been unable to tap into its potential or channel its resources to produce change. The competitive enviroment between these tech firms must be harnessed to ensure benefits for everyone. Creating positive change should be upheld as a core operation of tech firms in order for considerable growth to be made.
For example, large-scale endeavors, such as the invention of 3-D printed prosthetic limbs, show that the tech industry has the potential to continue growing in beneficial ways. Silicon Valley must be transformed into a vessel of change by cultivating and developing ideas that benefit not only the prosperity of the region, but also the well-being of the world.
Tech companies in Silicon Valley continue to prove international worth in the creation of innovative and modern products. Despite this corporate power, these firms fail to transfer their influence into activities that can improve society. Although Silicon Valley bears the potential to help with the improvement of the world, companies in this area neglect this responsibility.
Perhaps the most daunting aspect of this issue is that Silicon Valley is not the lone perpetrator in maintaining this environment.
Kayla Ayres is a sophomore accounting major.