The Value of Transparency

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Transparency is one of our core values here at droplet, and it’s one of the most oft-used words in any discussion about what’s wrong with current tech. Transparency could solve a lot of issues all by itself, so let’s talk a bit more about how and why it works.

Many of us were riveted by the podcast and television show Dr. Death, which portrayed the true story of a surgeon who was maiming and killing his patients. By the end of the story it becomes clear that many system failures allowed the doctor to continue operating after catastrophic surgeries, but the actor who played Dr. Duntsch in the television series said it best: “Any place that is allowed or asked to regulate itself… you cannot regulate yourself. You should not be asked to, and the outcomes if you do are terrible.”

Checks, balances and accountability are vital to any system working for the greater good. Otherwise blind spots, biases, conflicts of interest, and things more sinister will always, always creep in and create system failures. The very best weapon we have to combat harmful practices is transparency. Transparency allows the public to make educated decisions at the very least, and at its best keeps companies and organizations running honorably.

There is one catch, though. If we pull out our pitchforks every time a company makes a mistake, we incentivize secret keeping. We need to reward companies operating transparently by allowing space for correcting mistakes. As long as they continue to operate transparently, we should be able to see how they handle their mistakes and make better decisions moving forward.

Transparency is a key missing ingredient in tech today, but might just be the most important ingredient to move forward to a better place.

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