Choosing technology based on their incentives

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The development of new technologies can be shaped by their incentives. Therefore, it can be fair to select the tools we decide to depend on by choosing the ones with incentives which align with our own incentives:

I don’t depend on tech that’s not truly open source and non-profit, because otherwise I don’t trust that their long-term incentives are aligned with mine. Derek Sivers

However, this has a short-lived expectation of success. Even though I try to use and contribute to Open Source software as much as possible, there are cases when only closed-source options exist. Or, at least, only closed-sourced options that work well enough.

Therefore, it seems that there is a balance between different incentives at play for the tasks we do. If tools with incentives aligned with our own are harder to use and therefore cost us time, energy or perhaps even block progress, would we keep using them or would we select the ones that allow us to progress quicker?

Software has a low barrier for switching. Hardware, on the other hand, has a much longer-term commitment. Incentives can change over time and therefore our decisions can be void during the lifetime of the tools we purchased.

Moreover, the biggest question is how can we know the incentives driving companies? What about the dieselgate of Volkswagen, or the continuous scandals at Facebook?


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Aquiles Carattino
Aquiles Carattino
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