As someone who shops online regularly, I began to notice the prominent growth of conscious and ethical fashion. We, the consumers, are always aware that our lives involve systems that we don’t fully understand yet it was only until recently that we started putting more effort into understanding how our essentials came into our home.
Crawford and Joler did an excellent job explaining the complicated systems and how they intertwine with our lives through a beautiful map and essay that shows the making process behind Amazon Echo. Having a virtual assistant to complete chores that you would otherwise feel “bad” to seek help from another human being is truly convenient and in a way – a dream come true. However, it is depressing thinking about the consequences of your convenience – tremendous amount of non-renewable material resources, human labor and data. I am aware of how AI systems function yet it is still unsettling being re-introduced to the idea of yourself as a consumer blindly providing free labor and data to the network. On one hand, I wonder if there should be more transparency in how data is being collected and more conversations on a sustainable plan for future AI development. On the other hand, I wonder if someone, perhaps billionaires from the top of the system, should one day realize our lives are good enough and hence says “pause” to advancing technology.