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July 23, 2015

Opinion: Is Technology Helping People Do Good or Do Well?

As Silicon Valley moguls talk up technology's promise to drive social change, six academics, futurists, and philanthropists consider whether the tech industry is improving the world or just improving bottom lines in The New York Times Room for Debate opinion feature.

Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, writes in her essay that "without a doubt ... some [tech companies] are innovating in ways that make life better for billions of people," citing platforms developed by Facebook, Google, and Microsoft to help U.S. teachers and farmers in India and Africa.

Other debaters argue that technology has not lived up to its potential to expand economic opportunity and engender social justice and that Silicon Valley is primarily adapting new tools to an old order of creating wealth for a handful of people.