The words “2018,” “good” and “tech” probably don’t seem like they belong in the same paragraph, let alone the same sentence. But stay with me here.
It’s true that this was a horrible year for many of the tech industry’s biggest companies. Amazon held a nationwide beauty pageant for its new headquarters, raising hopes that the company would help transform a struggling city, then picked the two places that needed it the least. Executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter got hauled before Congress to apologize for *gestures wildly in all directions*. One of Uber’s self-driving cars killed someone. And then there was Elon Musk.
But the tech sector is more than its giants.
Last year, I handed out “good tech” awards to a handful of companies, nonprofit organizations and people who used technology to help others in real, tangible ways. The goal was to shine a spotlight on a few less-heralded projects that may not get front-page headlines or billions of dollars in funding, but are actually trying to fulfill the tech industry’s stated goal of improving the world.
I’m continuing that tradition this year, in the spirit of reminding us that although scandals and wrongdoing in tech rightly get a lot of attention, there’s good happening elsewhere.
To Zipline and Swoop Aero, for using drones to heal the sick.
For years, consumer drones were hyped as a new technology that would soon fill the skies over America’s cities, delivering packages and surveilling the populace. Luckily, that hasn’t happened yet, but elsewhere, drone companies are doing real work.
One of these efforts is Zipline, a start-up that