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Publisher's Summary

Buying groceries, tracking our health, finding a date: whatever we want to do, odds are that we can now do it online. But few of us ask how all these digital products are designed, or why. It's time we change that. Many of the services we rely on are full of oversights, biases, and downright ethical nightmares. Chatbots that harass women. Signup forms that fail anyone who's not straight. Social media sites that send peppy messages about dead relatives. Algorithms that put more black people behind bars.

Technically Wrong takes an unflinching look at the values, processes, and assumptions that lead to these problems and more. Wachter-Boettcher demystifies the tech industry, leaving those of us on the other side of the screen better prepared to make informed choices about the services we use - and demand more from the companies behind them.

©2017 Wachter-Boettcher Consulting (P)2017 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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Great Book!

This book addressed so many nuances of racism and sexism in tech design. I am blown away! I had no idea how big a deal this stuff is. We need more women and people of color in tech. Otherwise the future looks bleak indeed.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating: For Everyone Who Uses Online Services

Just about everyone uses social media and online services. Technically Wrong looks at how the biases of the people who make websites and social media affect us, in this brilliant exposé and story-filled analysis.

The author offers solid accounts of how people in the world of startups and technology influence us, give us a skewed view of the world, affect the news we receive, and cut out millions of people who aren't the same as those making the web.

If you use the web, you'll want to know the ways in which you are manipulated, judged, and even hurt by choices made in places like Silicon Valley. You'll see the web in an entirely new way and, while often dismaying, the book is a very entertaining experience that flies by.

If you help make the web, you'll find many stories here that you've never heard before, along with just a few that you have. This is a book not to be missed. I'd call it essential reading for everyone involved in design and decision-making for social media and websites for every industry. It will make you much better at what you do.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A really important subject, super compelling book!

Sara has captured the core of an issue that has been rolling through tech forever!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Casey
  • Huron, SD, United States
  • 10-29-17

Pretty good but not complete

In Technically Wrong, Sara Wachter-Boettcher does a good job of explaining how the tech industry disenfranchises women, non-whites and the LGBTQ communities. There is a lot of valuable information that is conveyed in a way that is easy to digest. So why then do I only rate the story as a 3?

There are two big issues, one considerably bigger than the other that I feel keep this from being as good a work as it could or should be.

The biggest issue that holds the book back is this. Where is the discussion about how technology disenfranchises the disabled? As someone who lives with a disability this omission was as readily apparent as it was disappointing. This oversight is perplexing. I would certainly argue that exposing how tech disenfranchises women, blacks and the LGBTQ community is important. But why then be silent when it comes to the disabled? I hope and genuinely believe that this omission was not intentional but that makes it even more troubling in its own way.

The lesser issue is that she constantly reminds readers that the technology industry is run by white men. This is worth pointing out when making her initial argument and should be reinforced to establish in the mind of the reader. But her constant reminders, their placement and what they imply makes it feel as though she uses the term 'white men' in the most derisive sense.
The problem is that those white men are exactly the people that she needs to persuade. As someone with a background in constructing arguments meant to persuade an audience of their truthfulness, I know this is a bad strategy. By using the term white men in a derisive manner it gives those same white men cause to tune out the rest of argument regardless of how valid it may be.
She may not have even meant for the term white men to come off as so contemptuous but that determination is ultimately going to be made by the individual reader. The fact is that an audience that feels like it has been insulted, even indirectly or unintentionally is hard to win over.

The narration is consistently enjoyable throughout. I was able to finish the audiobook in one sitting and was always kept engaged by the performance of Andrea Emmes. Her voice is pleasant and energetic and she reads at a steady pace.

My criticisms above may seem harsh and some might not even think them valid, you can't convince everyone of anything but despite them I did enjoy this book. I have even recommended it to others and it is likely a book I will revisit in the future. I will even go so far as to say that I would read another book by Wachter-Boettcher in the future.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Interesting content, but the narrator is awful

There is something robotic and boring about the narrator's voice. It just wasn't the appropriate narrator for this content. The content is interesting. Have you considered the audiences being left out of your technology?

1 of 2 people found this review helpful