--On newsstands March 21--

With a constant stream of headlines exposing privacy scandals, data misuse, and company culture clashes, positive news out of Silicon Valley feels like a rarity. Tech executives and political leaders talk past each other about how best to move forward, and consumer trust continues to deteriorate. In a very timely June issue cover package, WIRED contributors discuss why–despite its major missteps–there is still hope for the tech industry.

In an opening essay, Postlight CEO and WIRED contributor Paul Ford explains that his affinity for tech stems from his deep and abiding love of software, which created many opportunities for him as a young programmer and software consultant. He traveled the world, keynoted conferences, and was an Advisor to the White House Office of Digital Strategy during the Obama Administration. To Ford and many others who rode the wave of the Internet boom, innovation used to be synonymous with positive change. However, as he notes, correlating all advancements in technology with progress enabled the industry to grow so fast that it “accelerated progress itself,” especially the capitalist and dystopian parts. Tech workers could barely keep up with the industry’s never-ending race toward innovation, let alone keep its growth in check.

“How do you change an industry that will not stop, not even to catch its breath?” Ford contemplates. “We have no leaders, no elections. We never expected to take over the world! It was just a scene. You know how U2 was a little band in Ireland with some good albums, and over time grew into this huge, world-spanning band-as-brand with stadium shows with giant robotic structures, and Bono was hanging out with Paul Wolfowitz? Tech is like that, but it just kept going.”

Ford also notes that while there is likely no remaining growth like what the industry has seen, this may be a positive thing. He believes that industry leaders are beginning to take ownership of their shortcomings and work toward making positive changes for future generations.

“I’m watching the ideologies of our industry collapse,” Ford writes. “Our celebration of disruption of every other industry, our belief that digital platforms must always uphold free speech no matter how vile. Our transhumanist tendencies, that sci-fi faith in the singularity. Our general belief that software will eat the world and that the world is better for being eaten.

It’s been hard to accept, at least for me, that each of our techy ideologies, while containing various merits, don’t really add up to a worldview, because technology is not the world. It’s just another layer in the Big Crappy Human System along with religion, energy, government, sex, and, more than anything else, money.”

Despite the industry’s looming challenges, Ford still feels lucky to have been born into this period of acceleration.

“The mysteries of software caught my eye when I was a boy,” he writes.  “And I still see it with the same wonder, even though I’m now an adult. Proudshamed, yes, but I still love it, the mess of it, the code and toolkits, down to the pixels and the processors, and up to the buses and bridges. I love the whole made world. But I can’t deny that the miracle is over, and that there is an unbelievable amount of work left for us to do.”

*Read the full essay “Why I (Still) Love Tech: In Defense of a Difficult Industry” by Paul Ford on WIRED.com