Where did this evil stuff come from? Are we evil? I’m perfectly willing to stipulate you are not evil. Neither is your boss evil. Nor is Larry Page or Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates. And yet the results of our work, our best most altruistic work, often turns evil when it’s deployed in the larger world. We go to work every day, genuinely expecting to make the world a better place with our powerful technology. But somehow, evil is sneaking in despite our good intentions.
When the public cannot prove that the oil company is going to cause damage, then we’re not allowed to say, “Nevertheless, the risk is not acceptable.” So we have turned it over, the decision, to the expert. We have taken it out of the hands of the community. And then when we say we want community input, we hold a public hearing, and the experts sit up at a table. And then the grandmother who does not have a graduate degree, she’s not allowed to say, “Here’s what I’ve seen. Here is what’s happened in my community. And that’s not acceptable.” Her view is not taken because she’s not an expert. And so we’ve taken away the right for self determination and for community determination.