Sara Wachter-Boettcher

Reviewed By: Morgan Lopez (September 4, 2020)

Bits and bytes aside, computer science has another side to which we all engage with daily: design. Whether it’s tactful marketing, pleasing aesthetic, or familiar color combinations, we have not only witnessed technological inclusion in daily life but have also been unknowing drivers for this technical revolution.

Technically Wrong demands its readers to think critically about the tech we use everyday. Wachter-Boettcher uses provocative case studies to reveal the ways in which biased design and imperfect algorithms underpin the tech world. Her book explores the meaning behind default settings, why we have “funny” virtual assistants, and the harm of claiming to be an all-knowing, unbiased machine. She examines everything from data privacy to “algorithmic inequality” to examples of when well-intentioned-though-poorly-thought-out procedures overstep boundaries. In a quick-though-thorough exploration, Wachter-Boettcher encourages her readers to become critical thinkers when it comes to technology.

After finishing Technically Wrong readers will be able to make informed decisions about the tech they use and support. I will never be able to look at tech the same way and now feel compelled to demand the tech industry become a safer, more inclusive space as well as empowered to actively participate in bringing about this change. Anyone interested in learning to acknowledge and dismantle the bias that designs our tech will deeply benefit from reading Technically Wrong.

It’s up to us to demand that those choices be made differently—not because we want to see technology fail, but rather because we want it to succeed, on terms that work for all of us. After all, most of us don’t hate tech. We love it. It’s time we demand that it love us back.

Sara Wachter-Boettcher
Categories: Book Bytes