Published in this month’s Computers & Society, Our Responsibility to Manage Evaluative Diversity, summarizes Moral Ecology Approaches and the GRINSQ validation study. Responding to Nick Bostrom’s Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, it describes the responsibility of the information technology industry to protect evaluative diversity (much like the responsibilities of the energy and manufacturing industries to protect biodiversity).
We all need to be aware of the value of diversity, but certain industries have special responsibility because mass-production can have especially high impact (good, as well as bad) on ecosystems. Massive swathes of decision-making are already designed in bulk by software makers and distributors such as Samsung, Apple, Accenture, Tata, Deloitte, Foxconn, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Dell, Oracle, PWC, Yahoo, Baidu, KPMG, Ernst & Young, SAP, Wikimedia, Symantec, eBay, Tencent, and Infosys. If no trusted-third-party monitors specific impacts, these kinds of companies will likely take blame by default. On the other hand, the discovery of social responsibility also provides opportunity to differentiate themselves.
We all know society would be handicapped if there were no creativity, love, obedience, or ambition, yet these evaluative dispositions face discrimination in practice. Creative people are called “deviant.” Those who embrace love are accused of cronyism. The obedient are called “dogmatic,” and the ambitious are called “greedy.” When it comes to our most intimate relationships, studies show that we are even more inclined to segregate along these lines than on the basis of race.
Each social movement has its time. Thomas Jefferson called slavery a “moral depravity” and a “hideous blot,” but in 1814 urged Edward Coles not to free his slaves. Jefferson believed that America was not ready to face the truth about racism, and that Coles would damage both his slaves and his country if he abandoned them to fend for themselves. In the late 1960s, Americans similarly debated whether coming-out would harm homosexuals and society. Today, the biggest research question in the field of evaluative diversity is, “Are we ready to face the truth about evaluativism, and, if not, what stands in our way?”
In one sense, we already know the answer to that question: As with every social advance before it, most people will hope for the end of evaluativism only when they see a critical mass of other people who exhibit that same hope. In another sense, the answer is up to you. If you want to end oppression and allow social flourishing now, here are ways you can make yourself counted among the hopeful:
- The most powerful way to promote tolerance may be to complete the GRIN Self-Quiz (GRINSQ) and share the badge it generates with your friends and loved ones.
- If you are a leader, start monitoring the GRIN-dynamics of your team to protect against sudden degradation.
- If you as a social organizer, host a musical-chairs party or an interdependent meal.
- If you are a researcher, consider refining the GRIN model, contributing to post-publication peer-review, developing tools to measure GRIN-freedom (e.g. wearable EEG), and exploring the impacts of GRIN-diversity (e.g. in prison populations and computer simulations).
- If you are theologian, discuss what your tradition can teach us about GRIN-diversity (humanity has been facing it for thousands of years, after all).
- Anyone can forward posts on this site (especially the video) to friends using the Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, and email links at the bottom of each post. Sign up to get new posts by email.
If you have other ideas about how to promote tolerance, please contact us.