The mighty @ton has pointed me in the direction of something called the Tech Pledge. it seems to be an offshoot of the Tech Festival 2019 in Copenhagen – @nadia was there in representation of Edgeryders. The Tech Festival is itself an offshoot of a 2000s event called Reboot, which had an idealistic, early Internet culture. I attended it myself back in the day.
The idea is simple and elegant: if your job includes significant risks to human life, integrity and dignity, take an oath of letting yourself be guided by a solid ethics. It has worked for medicine for thousands of years, why cannot it work for technology now?
The original Hippocratic oath is, of course, a pre-capitalist institution: a fossile, if you will. The creators of the Tech Pledge are clearly aware of it, because the pledge says, among other things:
I commit […]
to always put humans before business, and to stand up against pressure to do otherwise, even at my own risk.
to never tolerate design for addiction, deception or control.
I also wonder: how powerful is moral suasion in preventing creepy (but lucrative) stuff to happen? What do people think?