Discover more from Learning by Proxy with Vivek Srinivasan
Technology scales only when you can burden poor people with its shortcomings.
The common Silicon Valley refrain goes - Solve a problem and then use technology to scale it. Do not build technology and then look for problems to solve. The underlying assumption is that technology would take the burden of scaling the solution rather than throwing more people at the problem. This can help achieve exponential growth.
Technology is not perfect. If it was, a product once built would require almost no maintenance and would work perfectly without fail. When technology fails, someone is required to step in and field all of the queries and help resolve the problem. Exponential growth often comes with an exponential need to solve problems and here is where technology gives birth to inequity.
Take any SaaS company. Most SaaS solutions are software, but there are several challenges with deploying a SaaS product and integrating it with the website and other tools that any company utilises. Typically, hundreds if not thousands are hired to provide “support”. They are some of the worst paid employees in the company. But the “Exponential” growth will not be possible without them.
Even worse is the story of companies that have a real-world interface. Take Amazon or Uber. They need the people on the street to make their delivery or ferrying possible. These are some of the worst paid people. The technology in this case is literally being used to rob those who are referred to as partners while making the few at the top rich.
The first thing Uber does is to saddle the driver with a loan for buying the car. Then there is no way to run. Most of them end up working below subsistence to pay off the EMI.
There is no exponential technology. There are companies that use technology and combine it with capitalism to legitimise turning people into slaves under the banner of job creation.
In the meantime, the pay gap between the CEO and the average employee has widened to 30,000%. The very same CEO would be incapable of providing customer support if he was the last person left in the company.