At its best, anthropology strives to understand the complexities of human existence and the ethical and moral dilemmas and choices that face us. The discipline that is invested in documenting societal change will have to formulate ways to work through an event that is unprecedented in most of our lifetimes.
The pressures to deliver and innovate in Silicon Valley echo the demands of higher education. How can learning from worker struggles and solidarity movements in anthropology make our work more ethical?
In March 2014, Business Insider published the article, “Here’s Why Companies Are Desperate to Hire Anthropologists.” Referring to the likes of Google, Microsoft, and Intel, author Drake Baer describes how corporations want to hire anthropologists to enhance their marketing strategies and product designs.
You can spot the extremes on the street in Silicon Valley. You can find monumental architecture and tour “the mothership,” a gigantic circular edifice that is the home to the Apple headquarters. You might spot a few autonomous vehicles, piloted by a host of competing companies, especially Waymo, a subsidiary of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.