Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
We're living in an era of enormous change.
Some would say, too much enormous change.
Our everyday behaviors have become so tied to gadgets that, if we'd imagined we'd end up like this 20 years ago, we might just have guffawed.
We've rather become slaves to the tech industry and its nerdly whims.
The tech industry, in its turn, has created so many things without so much as a thought for their consequences.
Which means we must bear the brunt of those consequences. (Of course, our abject laziness has contributed.)
I was moved to quasi-rapture, therefore, on hearing words uttered by Patrick Gauthier, vice president of Amazon Pay, at last week's Fortune Brainstorm Finance conference.
Naturally, he was talking about money.
He also, though, described how Amazon is a pragmatic company that starts its creative process by identifying a need.
The solution, he said, also had to scale.
He added, though, a sentence that ought to be chanted every day in every tech company all across the world:
The fact that we can build something doesn't mean that we should.
Perhaps, for Gauthier, this was just a reference to base profitability.
I prefer, though, to see its ethical, moral aspects.
Isn't it something that all tech companies haven't sufficiently considered until it was too late?
Amazon, itself, for example has a number of projects that are making some observers mutter: Are you sure about that?
Why, last week Amazon won patent approval for drones that can surveil your house while you're away. What could possibly go wrong?
Then there's its facial recognition software is said to be not exactly accurate in its matching of pictures to real humans.
Some might even see humor in the fact that the software is called Rekognition.
Hey Jeff, that's not, er, an accurate spelling.
Gauthier's words, though, were a touching contrast to those of another Amazon executive in recent weeks.
At the CodeCon conference the CEO of Amazon Web Services, Andy Jassy, offered this contentious opinion:
I strongly believe that just because the technology could be misused, doesn't mean we should ban it and condemn it.
What if it's already being misused?, I hear you snort. What if it's already in the hands of law enforcement and is incorrectly identifying people?
Rekognition did, you see, match the pictures of 28 members of Congress with mugshots of actual criminals.
Jeff, just a thought. How about calling it Wreckognition?
It seems that we have one Amazon executive who believes in aforethought, while another wants to create clever technology and see how it flies in the real world, consequences be damned.
Or, at least, secondary.
Until, that is, the government gets around to regulating it, with the helpful hands of corporate lobbyists guiding its way.
I sometimes feel as if so much has changed over the last few years that a pause might make us slightly healthier.
In the head, you understand.
Slow down tech development and give it a little more room for consideration.
You never know, we might all be happier that way.