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What technology Technical.ly puts on display and why

An updated policy for what we allow at our events and what we cover in our reporting.

Technical.ly cofounder and CEO Chris Wink directs traffic at the 2024 Developers Conference (Danya Henninger/Technical.ly)

Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.

That’s historian Melvin Kranzberg famous first law of technology. It informs the tech reporting we at Technical.ly have done for 15 years, because, in a strict sense, we aren’t a “tech news site.” We don’t cover gadgets or even business, exactly. 

We report on a community of people — people who build technology, use gadgets and grow businesses, sure, but people first and foremost. Who makes a technology and who uses it matters at least as much as what the technology is. 

And people in the community we follow often develop and leverage experimental technologies that challenge boundaries. We have standards for introducing technologies with complicated roles in society, both in our reporting and at events we produce. There’s a fine in line between exploring and promoting. 

This is an update to Technical.ly’s policy on the advanced technologies we share on our platform. 

Our journalism, including written articles, videos with journalists and the discussions and panels at our events, can contextualize a broad spectrum of technologies. In contrast, products or services exhibited at an event do not come with similar context.

Technical.ly reports on technologies built, developed and distributed by and within the community we serve, which includes novel and at times controversial uses. As journalists, Technical.ly shares with our readers the known risks and criticisms of a given technology at least as much as potential benefits. 

As an extension of our journalism, we often host these technologies at events for our community to experience. Examples include video games; VR hardware; mobile apps; 3D printing; robotics; scientific breakthroughs and medical devices; and artificial intelligence tools.

What technologies are appropriate to display, and how, depends on the type of event. 

We group our events into three categories: those where attendees include children under the age of 18, those for general professional networking and those for highly-specialized industry experts.

A table outlining event exhibitor policies by event type.

Most of our events fall in that middle category of general professional networking. 

At these events attended by informed tech pros, video games, mobile and web apps and other software tools that use advanced gamification and artificial intelligence are welcome. We have hosted examples of advances in life sciences, healthcare and energy storage. Drones, VR, robotics and other hardware are also frequently on site. These and other technologies may have a wide range of controversial applications. 

Whenever relevant, we conform to industry ethical guidelines, such as the American Medical Association’s Code of Medical Ethics, to determine what technologies can be exhibited, and our journalism puts into context what institutional backing and ethical concerns any technology has. 

Additionally, no weapons are exhibited at these Technical.ly events. Given the important role the US military plays in catalyzing breakthrough technologies, including the internet itself, Technical.ly does report on companies and technologies sold to the U.S. defense industry — such as Microsoft and Google — and does allow the exhibition of examples that are not weaponized. 

Gambling and other adult-themed technologies, including undisclosed data collection and other tools of a highly addictive nature, are not permitted.

At events for people 18 or younger, or where children are attendees (such as various outdoor tech exhibit events like the Philly Tech Week kickoff), we maintain a more stringent standard of safety. No videogames of a violent nature, no tools developed for military or law enforcement purposes whatsoever, no data or surveillance tech will be permitted. 

No political speech is welcome at either of the above-described events. Elected officials and candidates for office may attend but may not engage in campaigning. Explicit lobbying, or related speech or action, is not permitted.

In the third category, Technical.ly may host and partner on specialized industry events for and with academic, professional and other experts. At these events, which are typically not open to the general public, we give access, with context, to technologies and forms of speech we do not welcome otherwise. For example, we host campaign forums for elected offices, and have displayed technologies used by the US military. At these events, context, expertise and precaution are all included within journalistic standards.

Across all events, no literature or marketing material may be distributed without the explicit written permission of Technical.ly. We also expect exhibiting companies to uphold a reasonable commitment to excellence for workplace dynamics, community engagement and ethical leadership. 

If you have feedback or perspective on this, please contact me via email. You can also DM me in the Technical.ly Slack. My focus: Serving the people in our community, rather than the technology they build.

 

 

 

 

 

Companies: Technical.ly

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