The world of digital is not only difficult to regulate, but it’s also inhabited by people who seem to struggle with ideas of morality and ethics. As panelist Vinay Gupta commented towards the end (and something I’ve now been saying for years) a huge number of developers are somewhere on the spectrum of Asperger’s or even autism. They are not people people. They believe that the right thing to do is the right thing technologically, not necessarily societally.
Heck, there is a movement in Silicon Valley at the moment focused on maximizing the psychological addictiveness of software products. The tobacco industry wouldn’t be able to get away with talking about “Behaviour engineering to maximise customer engagement”. The software industry shouldn’t either.There needs to be an ethical code developed for startups.
Tech is reaching ever deeper into our lives, and it’s largely doing so uninhibited by regulation or ethical conventions. The longer we let this go, the bigger the issues will be, and the harder it will be to unwind the tentacles.