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December 23, 2021 48 mins

Baratunde is reminded that “tech companies” are really just people and asks what it would mean for tech employees to think critically about their work and its impact and use that power to remake the industry from the ground up? He talks with Xiaowei Wang, whose work at Logic School helps workers answer those questions. They also discuss blockchain, rice farming in rural China, and tarot. It’s all connected. 


Guest: Xiaowei Wang

Bio: Lead steward of Logic School, author of Blockchain Chicken Farm 

Online: Logic School website; Xiaowei on Twitter @xrw


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ACTIONS

 

- PERSONALLY REFLECT 

Consider consent and care

Think of what consent and care mean to you, and think of what consent-ful and careful tech would look like, function like, feel like. What relationships would be strengthened? Shattered?

 

- BECOME INFORMED

Learn about critiques and better ways

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- PUBLICLY PARTICIPATE

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Transcript

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Yeah. Welcome to How to Citizen with Baritune Day, a
podcast that reimagine citizen as a verb, not a legal status.
This season is all about tech and how it can
bring us together instead of tearing us apart. We're bringing
you the people using technology for so much more than
revenue and user growth. They're using it to help us citizen.

(00:29):
So first, I'm going to open the circle. Sky above me,
earth below me, love around me, divine within me, Mother, father, kind, ancestors.
Thank you for your wisdom which flows into us through us.

(00:49):
The reading that we undertake today is for the joy
and liberation of the sitter and the greater joy and
liberation of all. Thank you you had me at open
in the circle. That other voice you're hearing is Shaowei Wang.
Right now, they're reading my tarot cards, an old tech

(01:11):
of sorts. The cards can provide insights into our past, present,
and future. And this reading hits pretty close to home.
My mother was a very spiritually curious person. I was
baptized Catholic, but attended an Episcopal church from most of
my childhood. As my mom explored her own spirituality, she

(01:31):
just dragged me along with her to Buddhist temples to chant,
to our living room where she consulted the Taoist teaching
Book of Changes, to arenas for Native American pow wows,
and to her computer where she would generate and read
my astrological chart with her own software. Because of all
this history, I've always been open minded about the different

(01:53):
paths we can take to find meaning and insights. So Tarot,
that was an easy yes. Now shall weighs pulling three
cards to help frame my current state of mind. So
the middle card is the two of Pentacles, and so
as you see it, it's this iconography of someone who
is juggling, and in the back there's actually a lot

(02:15):
of water, so water meaning emotions. It's someone who you know,
you kind of see them, and they're like a court
jester almost. Um. So it's a sense of I'm juggling
a lot, particularly in the material round, so just like money, job,

(02:38):
things like that. And in the background is also this
tidal wave of emotion, like things look fun and playful
on the outside because I'm juggling for an audience, but
in the back there's a lot of emotion that's being
kind of damned up. I take that court jester or
comment as a compliment. Now, if you saw my Google calendar,

(03:01):
you know how real the juggler image is to my life.
Right now, I'm managing many commitments, including this podcast. I
often consider the fact that I deal with difficult topics
like race and democracy. I refer to what as handling
hazardous material. It takes an emotional toll, and as practiced

(03:23):
as I am at performing have it all togetherness, I'm
often holding back a lot of emotions associated with my
chosen work. That emotional water in the background of the card.
And on the other side, we have the Night of Swords,
and we have the Three of Cups, But the Night
of Sorts is someone who is just like has this

(03:47):
energy that's just like, Oh, there's a problem, let's do
something about it. How can we fix this immediately? There's
this one side of me that's just in the material realm.
As we're going through things, we have to fix it.
We have to get things done, we have to move
on to the next thing, moving at like a million
miles an hour. This is so me. I love to

(04:14):
fix things. I literally fixed computers to help pay for college,
and I'm always jumping to solutions in the face of
almost any problem, even when the people around me don't
want me to come up with a solution. And then
on the other side is the very real side of
when we're doing community work, when we're dealing with the

(04:35):
emotions of other people. That's a kind of slowness that
is very much, you know, counter to the Night of Swords.
Who's like about to Russian So at least from this
terror reading. And I'm curious if any of this resonates
with you, this notion of juggling between the two and
the sense of like I just want to like fix

(04:57):
it and do something about it. And then the other
part that's, you know, slow down, you know, talk it through,
talk about feelings. This is dead on, this is you, you
you got me. It's exactly where I am really and
then a lot of who I am and how I

(05:18):
present and what's going on to the surface. But the
support I'm finding shall wait, that's this podcast, you know,
like you also just read for how to Citizen, So
thank you. That is one of the most potent ways
of meeting a person that I've ever experienced. You have
a bit of a gift, so thanks for sharing it.
I know, I know, a tarot reading seems random but

(05:44):
tarot isn't just woo woo fortune telling. I love reading
Tarot for others and I always view it as helping
others hold space, or like holding up a mirror, if
you will, And that's exactly what we're doing today, my guests.
Shall Wei Wang is going to help us hold a mirror,

(06:04):
not just to me, but to the entire tech industry.
Shawi is not only a tower reader, but the lead
steward of Logic School, an online school that empowers tech
workers to transform the industry from within. They also wrote
the book called Blockchain Chicken Farm about tech in rural China. Cha.

(06:25):
We spent a lot of time traveling in China and
working in the tech industry themselves. Through these experiences, they
learned a lot about how to transform the tech industry.
And it may surprise you, but the solution is actually
pretty low tech. Take time, take patients, move at the
speed of trust and care. The act of talking to

(06:48):
people and just being with them. That's the work, right,
that's the transformation. When we come back from the break,
how a rural chicken farmer in China became a real
life landing a sketch, Hello, challweg, How are you good.

(07:09):
It's nice to meet you. By twin Day. Lovely to
meet you. First off, I want to talk to you
about your current work Logic School. Logic School is an
organizing school for tech workers. Above all, it's really a
community of twenty folks who get together every week and
laugh and cry and learn from activists, artists, people who

(07:34):
are trying to think about changing tech and the tech industry. UM.
As part of it, there were a series of final
projects that came out from the cohort and it's been
just such a joy and honor to serve as the
lead steward of that school and see the work that
people are doing. You say the Logic School is for

(07:56):
tech workers, will qualify someone as a tech worker? We
made the definition really broad on purpose, just to you know,
foster these incredible new connections. We had the gig worker
to someone who used to work actually in government policy
on tech um. It was a bit disillusioned, I don't

(08:16):
know what that says about regulation UM. And that we
also had you know, engineers, designers from some of the
big companies. So it was really cool to see that
conversation unfold. When when I think of a school for
tech workers The first thing that pops to mind is
a place like General Assembly or at a place that
kind of creates the classic image of a tech worker,

(08:40):
like they pump out coders and engineers and developers and
some version of those words, and the images typing long
into the night. Maybe that scene from the Social network
where everybody's like pounding beers and slamming keys. What is
your definition of tech worker and of tech work? I
love that that is like a very good and marketing

(09:02):
scheme on behalf of the tech industry where they're like, yeah,
there's you know, fridge full of kombucha and you're just
like hacking, like it's mostly snacks, right exactly. I think
for us at Logic School, you know, a tech worker
can be someone who's doing community technology, so instead of

(09:22):
working for a big company, they're thinking about like what's
the infrastructure, what's the projects that respond to the needs
of their local neighborhood. It can be someone who's beyond
the like I'm so rational, I'm so logical image that
we have um and really someone who has a lot
of care and thoughtfulness. You know, I think all of

(09:45):
these ideas of what a tech worker looks like that's
highly gendered, highly racialized, and you know has has a
lot to do with capitalism. How does the school itself work?
We met every week over zoom, had folks from Pittsburgh
all the way to Texas in the Bay Area, and

(10:08):
amazing guest lecturers come in like the Free Radicals, stop
lap d spying coalition to Kadija abdu Rakhman, who's working
on child welfare in the New York City area. And yeah,
just lots of dialogue and activities and feedback on each
other's projects. I think one of the most important questions

(10:30):
for us was, you know, who are your people, who's
your community? Who do you see yourself building tech for?
Right this sounds like the opposite of everything we've been
taught about the tech sector as a workplace. I think
a lot of us are like, it's very logical, it's inhumane,

(10:51):
it's non empathetic, it's profit seeking, it's overworked, and questions
about empathy and community and power they're just not associated
with tech generally. What was the impetus to create the
Logic School in this way? It was exactly what you
just said. I mean, there's very few spaces to talk

(11:13):
about power, to talk about you know, how do we
be empathetic? I mean there's places like after work extracurriculars
where you can learn how to be a better engineer, right, like,
how do I do better JavaScript on the job? Like
all these things, um, but logic school really response to that.

(11:35):
There's no space where it's like, I'm a tech worker
and I'm having kind of a crisis about what my
company is doing. How do I bring in empathy into
the workplace. It was actually interesting because some people definitely
try to bring in empathy from what they learned at
logic School into the workplace and it got shut down.

(11:56):
So I think it also says a lot about just
the way the tech industry is structured and what they
want to maintain. When you create this program, you invite
these people in meeting every week, what do you want
them to leave with? Honestly, I think that as part
of rethinking what school is, I think everyone came in

(12:18):
with a different goal because that's also like very different
than a job, right. A job is like we create
this space for you to do one thing. We have
these expectations of how you do on your job, and
you will be evaluated by every quarter. We had one
person who worked at Twitter during the length of the

(12:39):
President who I will not say his name, and you know,
had a lot of just personal all these like traumas, right,
and spent logic school processing through that and actually, you know,
talking about trust and safety more broadly, we had another
person who is actually building this incredible augmented reality app

(13:04):
now in Pittsburgh and his whole app for his community
to like celebrate black life in Pittsburgh and to really
counter these narratives of disappearance and gentrification. So it's a
whole range of what people wanted out of it, but
just trying to be like, hey, this this could be

(13:25):
a different tech That's why we're here. You know, I've
been frustrated myself at the lack of imagination and in
some ways I've said, we've taken some of the most
powerful machines that we've ever built and some of the
smartest people that we've ever had, and applied it to
like shipping ads. It's a very underwhelming use of a superpower.

(13:46):
I want to know more about you. You've been a
tech worker. Yeah, so there was this moment where I
was working in tech and it was and Trump got
elected and like all tech companies in the Bay Area.
At the time, you know, the CEO gives kind of
a little speech about like, this terrible thing has happened,

(14:10):
and now we have to realize that what we do
every day at our company is changing the world and
improving the world, and we still have to do it.
And it's actually fighting against like Trump and all of
what this like right wing is um is doing. I'm
all fired up in tingling and stuff. Okay, braveheart speech, right. Yeah.

(14:34):
At the same time, I was sitting there and I
was like, but our company is funded by like Dared
Kushner's brother, all these threads of funding. You know, it's
every quarter the venture capitalists who fund the company, they
come in and there's always this kind of standoff, right

(14:56):
like they're like, we need to see returns. This is
how you should change your business plan, this is how
you should run your company. And then it trickles down
to us, like the engineers working day to day, it's like, oh,
that thing you were working on, actually it doesn't matter anymore.
We're like pivoting to this new thing. And so just
realizing one this kind of culture of not care but

(15:20):
really bottom line returns, and then too the idea that
we're doing something to better the world, to change the world,
and yet you know, our work was really making making
other people rich essentially UM and not helping communities directly.
That I think gave me a sense of disillusionment. I'd

(15:43):
love to UM know a bit more about your path.
And I know you've written a book whose title just
makes me crack up every time I hear it, Blockchain
Chicken Farm. What experiences did you have in tech that
led you to rural China to write a book called
block Change Chicken for? My friend Jason came up with

(16:04):
that title, and I was just like so snappy. You know.
There was also a lot of anti China of rhetoric
at the time. They're still continues to be, but just
this idea that there's this foreign power battle of the
civilization stuff going on UM, and I really wanted to,

(16:25):
you know, question that idea that it's like, you know,
US versus China, and China is this foreign place that's
so different and scary. And I think the approach I
really wanted to take was to humanize UM and to
tell these stories on the ground of folks in rural China.
It made sense to me also because we really ignore

(16:47):
the rural um. I mean not just in the US,
but also in China, where it's just like we paint
these pictures in broad strokes of like what country side
people are like, and then it's actually way more complicated
and it connects to like a global story too, about
you know, agriculture, economics, all these like big picture systems

(17:13):
complicate China for me with the sites, the smells, the sounds,
the tastes that you experience that we miss out on
when we over generalize. I mean, I miss it so
much because I haven't been able to travel. So I'm
sorry if I get like nostalgic or emotional, I will

(17:33):
open a circle for you to have these feelings. Oh,
you know, my time in real China, there were villages
that I would go to um several times, like twice
a year, and it felt like a sense of returning home.
Whenever you get to a village, it's this really beautiful

(17:56):
thing where the first thing they ask is have you
eaten yet? And there's just such a priority and value
placed on food, especially you know for rural places where
a lot of the times, you know there might be famine,
there might not be enough to eat, and so people
present you with this like bowl of rice and sometimes

(18:16):
there's little dots on it in the rice because of
insects that have eaten the rice. And it just is
this feeling of like, oh, like you're literally giving me
food from your own grain store and feeling really touched
by that. What misunderstandings do you think people like us

(18:47):
have us in the US and the West in general.
What misunderstandings do we have about tech in China? I
would say the biggest misunderstanding that I've seen, I mean,
especially in relation to this anti China stuff, is that
like China is they're stealing everything right um, and that

(19:09):
there is absolutely zero freedom that you know, somehow the
people of China are complicit in what its government does,
you know? And when you're in rural China, which is
still like the population, folks are just living day to day,
trying to get by, making money, harvesting their crops, thinking

(19:31):
about their kids in their next generation and how they're
going to pay the school bills. Sounds very relatable. You
know what they sound like? Shall we? They sound like
people exactly. We've gotten to a point where it's hard
to see beyond certain narratives. We we got to get

(19:53):
to the title and and how your book landed on
blockchain Chicken farm. The book is full of store words
of people from the rural parts of China. What's the
story that led to this title Chinese economic development? It
happened really fast, in the span of like twenty thirty years.
So when you have gross that fast, things are going

(20:16):
to happen. The block chain chickens really came out of
this one small farmer in Guido Province where he was
raising free range chickens, and no one believed him that
they were free range. There's such distrust. So he said,
I've got these free range chickens. They're like, you're lying,
prove it. So he was like some county official came

(20:37):
in was like, well, you should put these chickens on
the block chain. Paul is right there. That's just not
a normal government response, you know, Like I just I
can't imagine like my DMV manager or some FDA official
here in the US like you should put this livestock
on the blockchain. What does that even mean. So there's

(20:59):
all these small tech companies in China who I think
just wat government contracts, and the one company offered this
product that was like, you know, the blockchain is this
ledger um so record keeping system that can't change or falsify, right,
so you could say, like the chicken is a pent

(21:19):
free range, and then it got sent to this slaughterhouse
and it was slaughtered on X y Z date and
now it's at your doorstep um. And these chickens were
heavily tracked. It was really wild, like it's like a
giant chicken surveillance network. Yes, there was actually a dashboard

(21:42):
where you could watch the chickens through cameras. This is
weirdly dystopic and hilarious and progressive all at the same time.
I know, right, it's like, oh, you could definitely see
that Portlandia sketch where they're like this chicken has been
massage and here's a picture of it. Here is the

(22:03):
chicken you'll get joined tonight. This is fantastic. Absolutely. His
name was Colin. So farmer needs people to believe that
his chickens are free range. County officials like, I know,
we prove it with the blockchain. Put these chickens on
the block chain. Did it work? Did it help the
farmer when he had this distributed certification through the blockchain ledger.

(22:27):
So I will say that it really did work. He
sold all of his chickens. Um the chickens each had
this gnarly chicken fitbit is like this bracelet. Stop you're
killing me. So they had a chicken okay, yeah, and
the tracker had a QR code. But when they slaughtered

(22:50):
the chicken, they actually keep the tracker on. So you
can buy the chicken online. And so when you get
the chicken, it's like this dead chicken, but it still
has this wrist thing attached to it. It's really a site.
So the chickens got a little chicken apple watch, you know,

(23:10):
which is like tracking its health. Does the person who
buys the chicken do they read that little tracker themselves
to kind of inspect it. Yeah, they can scan the
QR code and then read about it. So there's like
a picture of the chicken, how much the chicken waight
at birth, how many steps it took, because there's like
a phenomena like all the chicken got it sent thousand

(23:33):
steps in let's eat. So this is what you've just done,
as you've brought a Portlandia sketch to life. The truth
is stranger than fiction. Oh so this sounds like a
victory farmer gets people to believe his chickens are free

(23:55):
range because he's got the blockchain proof, sells out of
his chickens and now is like the biggest farmer in
rural China. What's how does this story proceed? Um? Sadly,
I think that this is another one of those situations
when we say, like we're building tech to quote unquote
improve people's lives. It's like, well, who for who you know?

(24:18):
Who do you count as your people and your community?
And this farmer was kind of abandoned by that tech
company and for the next season he's he's good at
raising chickens and thinking about chicken life. Um, he's not
a programmer. And when I asked him, you know, how
do you feel about blockchain? He was like, what's blockchain? Um, which,

(24:41):
to be honest, is a question that I think most
of us would ask, right, like what's black chain? But
there was really a sense that he became like dependent
on this very opaque product that he had no control over,
and when they pivot and when it becomes about profit
the bottom line, they had to move on to other projects.

(25:05):
How else have you seen tech companies exploiting folks in
world China, I would say with the e commerce villages, Um,
that was really fascinating because you know, the tech companies
they say, hey, we're providing livelihoods to the countryside. You know,
now you can work from anywhere and manufacture Halloween costumes

(25:30):
or you know, wooden block toys for taboo. And it
sounds great. I mean it really does. You can stay,
you can work from home. Where have I heard this before?
Continue and work from home is going to be like
the mantra of our century. And yeah, so these folks

(25:50):
they would be, you know, basically making Halloween costumes out
of their home workshops. Um. I saw old people like
their grandparents and uh, you know great aunts like helping
with the manufacturing and the packaging and the shipping. So
it was really a family business or you know, some
people might call it like family self exploitation. Um. There

(26:14):
was definitely this like rosy scene that the official government
line was trying to paint like this is poverty alleviation,
it's giving people like digital literacy skills. But then when
I actually started talking to some folks that are like,
this is like a scam, and we know it and
we're just trying to like get it while it's good

(26:36):
and make money while we can. So they were saying
that the sellers, if you're selling on the platform, you
have to pay fees, you have to buy ads. It's
like a race to the bottom to try and cut costs,
and you're just making cheaper and cheaper items, um that
are really flimsy, that are like you use it once

(26:56):
and it falls apart. But they're like, this is just
all part of the game and in a few years
this might not work, but we're going to get rich
while we can. And so it was interesting, you know,
to to see just like again this reliance on a
platform and how much control that e commerce platforms had
over sellers. We have the same story in the United

(27:20):
States and in other Western countries. Um. We've been talked
about it on this podcast about Amazon, uh, mostly in
the US and how this race to the bottom. So
the idea that the same stories playing out on the
literal other side of the world in communities we don't
identify with because we don't take time to know about them.

(27:41):
It's really upsetting, um and not that surprising. When I
pause to think about it, I will say. I also
saw other small villages that were enacting totally ambitious projects.
For example, I visited this um rice farming village, Rice Harmony.

(28:05):
That's that sounds great, Rice Harmony, I like that. Yeah, yeah,
that's definitely. Their vibe is like, you know, very community oriented,
and they were really trying to push against top down
initiatives um and reliance on like whether it's one technology
or like one government policy. Yeah, so this other way

(28:28):
is um definitely a little bit more difficult. After the break,
we go to Rice Harmony Village. So shall we tell
me about the Rice Harmony Village project? And what about
it is so different. So rice farming is in this region,

(28:49):
it's terraced and so each farmer has their own little
patty and the water flows from the top to the bottom,
and it's this kind of natural irrigation. And so for
a long time they were using high scale, up, high
yield tactics like pesticides and fertilizers and really quote unquote
modern agriculture, and they were noticing that, you know, there

(29:14):
was a decline in their soil, decline in just like
their crops and like the nutrition content of the rice.
And so they started to do this lottery system where
you wouldn't have contiguous patty, so you might have one
patty at the top, you might have one patty at
the bottom, have a different neighbor every five years, and

(29:37):
so as a result of this, you are really materially
interconnected to others. Like you know, if you spray pesticides
or dam off water, you're going to affect your neighbors,
but you also might be affecting like yourself. And it's
through this system that they decided to do organic regenerative farming,
which does not really quote unquotes gale up right. It's

(30:01):
all about like thinking about scale across time and different
generations and like the soil, you know, twenty years from now,
rather than like how are we going to make as
much rice as possible this next year? Yeah, why were
they using the pesticides in the first place? It was
really about yield, right, Like it's just this form of

(30:24):
UM having granular control over your yield. If you're like,
I see what you did there, granular control. Glad you
appreciated that the lottery system sounds like a super creative
way to engineer UM community and interconnectedness, Because if I'm

(30:46):
just looking out for myself. I don't only care about
the runoff, but if my lots are no longer contiguous,
then my interest is in the runoff two. And so
I'm forced to care about my neighbor. I'm basically I
am my name her. That's kind of mind blowing. How
did they come up with that system? It was a
really beautiful system. And when they were telling me about it,

(31:09):
I didn't expect it to go there, but they were
saying that for a long time. It really came out
of their practices of helping each other harvest every year.
It was always like, oh, my family is harvesting the
rice in my patty, but also like the neighbors are
helping to and we're just all sharing everything. We're sharing

(31:29):
you know, equipment, we're sharing labor. We're like helping each
other out. And so the patty lottery system really stemmed
out of that um this kind of longer, longer community practice.
And you know, they made it very clear to me
that it was not easy. They'd like showed me photos
and they'd be like, yeah, that guy he always like,

(31:49):
you know, we have meetings to talk about this system
and the lottery and who's doing what and that guy's
always like stirring up trouble, and that lady she's never satisfide.
And our community meetings they take like hours and no
one likes going to them, but we all show up.
You know, it's scale interpreted differently, small scale on purpose.

(32:11):
A lot of us are just accepted what's delivered to
us by the massive commercial interests. But in your Rice
Harmony village example, they developed their own tools at their
own lower tech which suited their needs. Honestly, we need
to question the tools that we are given and really

(32:31):
push our imaginations. We've used like the most incredible tech
to now sell ads, and I think just like thinking
about what we're doing with these tools, like through the
span of time and not just the immediate one year
five year return. That's that's really key. How did your
experiences in rural China shape your views of tech and

(32:55):
of tech work and tech organizing. You seem to believe
something a little differently on the other side of that
experience than you did before. In seeing places like Rice Harmony,
where the conversations are difficult, they take hours, there's a
kind of patience the villagers would be telling me like,

(33:16):
oh yeah, sometimes we get into fights and like, you know,
we let it simmer and we pick it up the
next day. I think it really countered my you know
approach to organizing as well, where it's like, you know,
let things be unresolved, you know, don't push the conversation,
take time, take patience, move at the speed of trust
and care rather than I need to like get these

(33:40):
ten sign ups for the union, right, and that also
you know, seeing right places like rice harmony. It's like
the act of talking to people and just being with them.
That's the work, right, that's the transformation. Like whatever happens,
whether you win or lose the campaign, it's really about

(34:01):
just creating that kind of relation that is that is powerful.
Mm hmm yeah, instead of move fast and break things,
you know, move slower and build things. It's like trust
like relationships the stem brain of science, tech, engineering math.

(34:23):
I think there's a little bit of a stereotype to it,
in the same way that we have some stereotypes about
rural China. But there is a pressure out of so
many of these products that most of us use for efficiency.
It's like how do I avoid discomfort? We pay for
it in some way or the other. It may feel
faster and more efficient, but there's a cost on the

(34:43):
back end. Like you said, move at the speed of trust. Uh,
there's something else to be gained by that. That's so powerful.
Thank you. I love your framing of it as this
avoidance of discomfort. It speaks to really power to write
like who gets to decide? Well, this is the new
experience that everyone in the world should have. So how

(35:07):
does your work at the largest school address some of
the types of exploitation you were seeing firsthand in rural China. Yeah,
so in in a few ways. I feel like there's
one threat of Logic School, which is about what are
the ways that we can change industry from the inside. So,
you know, there are folks um at Amazon, like Amazonians

(35:29):
for Climate Justice, UM, people who are organizing and trying
to really think about these things, right, and it's like, no,
we're gonna build tech that is different. UM. So it's
more of the like you know, Rice Harmony stance where
it's like, well, you know, forget about everything else, We're
just going to go our own way. And I think

(35:51):
both approaches are urgent and much needed right now. Right
UM and Logic School it's really about like cultivate dating, nurturing,
and like thinking through these different threads and also supporting
folks who are doing this on the ground right now.
I'm really glad that your answer to like should we

(36:13):
reform from within or build something new out is both?
So so let's push your imagination. You've done your first
cohort with Logic School, when you've had your inaugural class,
what comes next? What's your vision for where this this
school goes, and this experience goes. And I feel like

(36:34):
out of the first cohort of Logic School, seeing people
organize do these incredible projects, It's like, how can we
continue to support the first cohort but also future cohorts
on like doing these projects that they do want to
carry out in the world right so that they're not
like can I quit my tech job and pursue what

(36:56):
I'm actually passionate about and is meaningful and impactful. I
think there needs to be a huge amount of culture shift,
and I think that is happening. Whenever I talked to
new grads from you know, computer science programs, I'm like, wow,
you are like so aware, you are so thoughtful, You
like know more about radical history than like some professors

(37:20):
I've spoken to like, yes, I love that. UM. So
I guess in that sense, I feel optimistic about the
culture shifts that are coming and then regulation of what
what we currently are facing in the US at least
is there a place in those two or maybe something
you haven't identified the regulation the culture shift? What is

(37:42):
Logic schools role in getting us there? I feel like
it's definitely in the culture shift area. But I also
think creating these open, expansive spaces for folks to dream about,
you know, a better tech industry or better tech UM

(38:05):
that is to me really urgent because we don't have
a lot of spaces to do that. Right. Even if
you do, like a startup incubator, we're like, we're gonna
build better tech. It's like, what's the bottom line? What's
your pitch deck? UM? And Logic School is really about
creating that expansive space and to dream to rest. We

(38:28):
really care about rest at Logic School. UM to have
that fire going for reflection, fire for reflection. It's the
anti hustle propaganda and in a great spirit of a
new type of energy that I would also love to see.

(38:49):
We call the show how to citizen. Citizen is a
verb to us not a legal status to be weaponized
against certain communities. And when you interpret this word as
a verb, what does it mean to you, two citizen?
It's about showing up. It's about really showing up. I

(39:10):
think it also requires a degree of listening, um, you know,
and compassion, right, And so I think of this like
listen to understand the ways that you're sharing space, the
ways that your decisions affect and inform and change conditions
for others. So I think we use the word show
up like really casually, but to do it and to really, like,

(39:34):
you know, citizens, that's difficult, right. I want you to
picture a motivated, fired up person ready to show up,
and they're like, oh, blockchain, chickens, rice, living in harmony,
tech workers with empathy, put me in coach, What can
I do? You know? There's this great phrase from Buddhism,

(39:56):
clean the temple, so that you can actually sit get
yourself health and your home and your family and where
you're coming from right before you're like, I'm going to
go to the temple and like talk to other people now.
So I feel like that's been my work for a
few years. It's just like cleaning the temple and then
from there. You know, if there's an organization that you

(40:18):
want to be organizing with, email them, show up and
listen and be patient and be willing to have the
you know, difficult conversations. Very lastly, like have empathy. I've
noticed that sometimes even in communities where we're like trying
to organize or do different initiatives and we feel like

(40:39):
we're bettering the world in some way, it can be
really easy to be like we just want to win,
Like we can't trample over people's feelings, having a live joy,
you know, take care of each other movement, like I think,
at the heart of it, that's the work. I'm so
happy to hear that the industry and a capital T

(41:02):
capital I the tech industry has done a really good
job of selling a narrative of what tech is and
who a tech worker is and what he most likely
looks like, and then the media amplifies that. So the
public mind around what tech even is, it's very narrowly oriented.
And so if we can contribute to shifting that mindset,

(41:25):
expanding that imagination, will be better off. And we're certainly
better off for having spoken with you. So thank you
so much, Shaowei Wang tarot reader, philosopher, professor, activist, organizer,
blockchain chicken farmer, advocate keeping it real. Appreciate you, Thank
you very tin day. I appreciate you. Thank you for

(41:47):
having me by. Now we're all well aware that technolog
lergy can and often is used to take advantage of people,
but it can also help us to connect, to empathize

(42:10):
with one another, to strengthen the bonds of trust and
transparency that we so deeply crave in our communities, and
to accomplish that bigger ain't always better. I would argue,
in fact, that it's it's rarely better. Shawegh is redefining
what it means to be a tech worker, that the

(42:31):
world at tech doesn't have to be all hoodies and
energy drinks, that it can be, like a tarot reading,
a place that opens up a space to listen to
others and to hold up a mirror to ourselves, because
the truth is, the world is just one big rice

(42:52):
harmony village, and what we do in our communities trickles
down to impact others. Whether those impacts are good or bad,
that's up to us and the way we choose to
use tech. It can isolate or it can unite. When
the ever evolving world of technology tells us to move

(43:15):
fast and break things, we've got to be the ones
to slow down and listen, to show up, to step
back and open the circle. Next time, for our final episode,

(43:40):
we're asking an important question, how do we bridge the
digital divide so that everyone can citizen. I'll be honest
with you, I was so overwhelmed because I did not
have that level of connection to technology, and just the
phone ringing and trying to text and people calling and
pictures popping up, and I felt some anxiety and I

(44:02):
didn't expect that. And now it is time for some actions.
No tarot reading required. A lot of which you're about
to hear comes directly from shall weigh so extra appreciation
to them for giving me things to give you to do.
The first is an internal reflection. Think of what consent

(44:25):
and care means to you, and think of what consent
ful and careful tech would look like, would function like,
would feel like, What relationships would be strengthened by that
kind of tech? What might be shadowed? Next, let's get
informed about tech critiques and some better ways of doing

(44:46):
things with tech. Read about platform co ops. We have
a link to a great explainer in the show notes.
These are digital platforms think of like a ride share
or delivery service, but they're collectively owned and governed by
the people who depend on and participate in them, not

(45:07):
just a handful of investors looking to turn their one
million into ten million. Also follow the work of the
Gig Workers Collective. This is a group that shines a
light on and advocates for people who work at the
other end of our smartphone taps and swipes. It really
humanizes their experience. And most of us don't work in

(45:29):
that part of the economy, but we all engage with it.
So let's have more information about the impact of that engagement.
Speaking of engagement, here's some ways to step it up
a notch and publicly participate. Support community Internet and technology groups.
These are organizations like the Detroit Community Technology Project, NYC

(45:50):
MESH Oakland MESH. They provide local internet access, tech training
and tools by of and for the people. It's democratic
technology and check out this one uh The Tech Worker
Handbook by Ifoma a Zoma. This is a collection of
resources to better prepare and support tech workers who are

(46:13):
considering whether they should speak out on issues that are
in the public interest, like should they whistle blow? You
know what I'm saying, So recommend this to a tech
worker near you, but please do them and our general
freedom of favor, don't send it to their work email. Right,
Let's be smart about that now. Look, We've got links
to all of this and more at how do Citizen

(46:34):
dot com and in the episode show notes as usual.
Check us out on Instagram at how the Citizen tag
us in your posts about this episode? How did Shaowei
make you feel? Do you want them to do your tarot?
Hashtag how the Citizen? And let us know how this
one hates you? Stay tuned and keep citizen. How Do Citizen?

(46:58):
With barituone Day is a production of I Heart Radio
Podcasts and dust Light Productions. Our executive producers are Me
Barrett tune Day, Thurston, Elizabeth Stewart, and Misha Yusa. Our
senior producer is Tamika Adams, our producer is Ali Kilts,
and our assistant producer is Sam Paulson. Stephanie Cohen is
our editor, Valentino Rivera is our senior engineer, and Matthew

(47:20):
Laie is our apprentice. Original music by Andrew Eapen, with
additional original music for season two from Andrew Clausen, additional
production help from Arwin Nicks. This episode was produced and
sound designed by Matthew Laie. Special thanks to Joel Smith
from I Heart Radio and Rachel Garcia at dust Light Productions.
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