Author archives

Zachary Loeb - Ph.D. Student in History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania. My research focuses on the end of the world. More specifically I am interested in the belief that humanity’s romance with technology has the species (and the planet) set on a course that will inevitably lead to catastrophe. Thus, my work sits at the intersection of the history of technology and disaster studies, as I consider the roles that technological systems play in causing and exacerbating the risks that can lead to disasters. Currently, my research is particularly focused on the ways in which computers create risk, and the way in which societies understand and seek to ameliorate these dangers. This research draws heavily on twentieth-century thinkers who expressed misgivings and issued warnings about the direction they feared complex technological systems were pushing society. In undertaking this work, I am inspired by Erich Fromm’s comment that, “if people are not aware of the direction in which they are going, they will awaken when it is too late and when their fate has been irrevocably sealed.” Prior to starting work on my PhD, I completed an MA from the department of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University and an MSIS from the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin. I have worked as a librarian for many years – most recently as a reference librarian at the Center for Jewish History, though I have also worked for the New York Public Library and as a librarian in Zucotti Park.

Technology giants didn’t deserve public trust in the first place

This commentary by Zachary Loeb synthesizes the increasingly frequent calls for oversight, regulation and even breaking up giant tech companies who have strayed way beyond their initial mission statements of “don’t be evil” and “helping you connect and share with the people in your life.” Public opinion has decidedly changed on issues concerning Big Tech, and Loeb’s opinion piece distills user concerns into a concise review of the boundaries of “public trust.”

Subjects: Big Data, E-Commerce, KM, Privacy, Search Engines, Social Media