A couple days ago, I keynoted a conference at Penn’s Annenberg School organized by David Elliot Berman, Victor Pickard, and Briar Smith. It was called “Democratizing the Internet: Platforms, Pipes, Possibilities,” and it brought together a wonderful collection of people, who shared their work on the political economy of the internet and offered their thoughts on what should be done to improve things.
Love the idea of a "third wave" and I think the concept of a dialectic is really helpful to stay motivated. I think what is key is to stay humble and own it when you mess up, which you inevitably will.
When I first delved into serious tech criticism, I felt so helpless that I wanted to quit being an engineer. Now I teach a course that's intentionally half seminar, half design studio, with the aim of doing exactly as you describe here. I frame design as a three step process, drawing on context (history), critique (the "studies") and rebuild (engineering). The process was inspired by a post by Sara Hendren, but I added context because I think effective critique needs to be grounded in history to be really impactful. https://sarahendren.com/2020/06/30/critique-or-repair-a-call-to-know-your-post/
Syllabus in case anyone is interested: https://maggiedelano.notion.site/ENGR-053-Fall-2022-Syllabus-d3e6bc89973348f597b4add4ca2021ea
This is great. It reminds me of the work by David Noble, “Progress without people.”