A Way Forward
What Does Professionalize Really Mean?
When an industry grows up, industrial sociologists call it “professionalization.”
Professionalization is a simple word for the very complicated, big, messy, revolutionary process whereby a trade slowly becomes a profession, with enforceable, uniform professional standards and a culture of accountability.
It's the story of the law catching up to the needs of practitioners and patients. It's the story of licensing and certification. It's the story of billions of person-hours devoted to hammering out the ethical edge-cases encountered by doctors, and then instructing new doctors on that wisdom.
How We’re Going To Get What We All Need And Want.
We’re not going to solve a problem as big as an unaccountable social tech industry without as many people trying as many approaches as possible. Hammering loudly from the outside. Slowly working on the inside. Antitrust. Regulation. Consumer pressure. All should be on the table. Our genuinely species-wide problems — climate change, hate, economic inequality — are all tied to getting tech back on track.
Here’s the approach no one else is taking, that we see as our lane:
We want to turn social technology into a profession, the same way that medicine, law and engineering are professions.
Who do we need at the table to professionalize social tech?
A diverse group of experts: Tech workers, tech dissidents, industry leaders, students, politicians, academics, investors, consumers, activists, and anyone and everyone with a desire to create real change in an industry in desperate need of it. Professionalization will not come easy and we need partners from within the industry and outside of it to come together to get this done.
What about other solutions? Government regulation? Breaking up big tech?
There’s no single solution in the world that is big enough, by itself, to fix all the problems social tech is creating and facing. But professionalization is one of the biggest solutions we have in our arsenal. We’re laser-focused on making social tech a profession and changing the industry from the inside out!
How do we get this done?
There are four milestones that each industry must reach when professionalizing. It’s a big job, but we can get it done!
develop a shared vision for the industry, expressed as an oath or manifesto underpinned by a code of ethics worthy of the public’s trust
outline a universal set of standards, including minimum standards of professional competency and rules of professional conduct
educate and train practitioners in accordance with these standards and provide them a way to stay up to date on them
protect the public interest by enforcing standards and imposing disciplinary action when necessary
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