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Started by uranrising on Dec 5, 2017 12:49:00 PM
Tech giants - saviours, threats or what?

The election is far from the only area of concern. Tech companies have accrued a tremendous amount of power and influence. Amazon determines how people shop, Google how they acquire knowledge, Facebook how they communicate. All of them are making decisions about who gets a digital megaphone and who should be unplugged from the web.

Their amount of concentrated authority resembles the divine right of kings, and is sparking a backlash that is still gathering force.

niggler - 05 Dec 2017 15:28:04 (#1 of 118)


niggler - 05 Dec 2017 15:32:49 (#2 of 118)

TheExcession - 05 Dec 2017 15:34:12 (#3 of 118)

Say what you like about Louis XIV: at least he never had the temerity to ride to work on a fucking skateboard.

YuleCunt - 05 Dec 2017 15:34:55 (#4 of 118)

niggler - 05 Dec 2017 15:40:18 (#5 of 118)

I don't think I'm actually complaining that much personally. I spend quite a bit of time on the computer myself, in fact it's an invaluable companion in many ways. But I don't let it intrude into 'normal' life.

I also refuse to have a smartphone. You're never alone with one of those things. I've got a talk 'n text and the rest stays firmly at home.

It's a mixed blessing really. But I do wonder at the way it seems to have invaded our psyche. And I don't care if certain people are rolling in dough because of it. It's their life, good luck to them. I wouldn't want to be that rich anyway.

niggler - 05 Dec 2017 15:43:19 (#6 of 118)



That's about money, not technology.

YuleCunt - 05 Dec 2017 15:47:21 (#7 of 118)

I just thought this was the thread to post links to unrelated threads. Sorry if I misunderstood.

thisonehasalittlehat - 05 Dec 2017 15:52:43 (#8 of 118)

It's going to be me to say this but, there is a fundamental flaw in the way in which the web works. The design of the web locks-in system effects which lead to these natural monopolies. And I reckon it's because - don't shoot me here, you know, I'm just the messenger - Ted Nelson was right and the links should go both ways.

There, I said it.

YuleCunt - 05 Dec 2017 15:56:14 (#9 of 118)

That's an interesting idea. I would have said the tendency to monopoly is an emergent property of any non-geographical information-driven business sector, but who can be sure.

thisonehasalittlehat - 05 Dec 2017 15:58:25 (#10 of 118)

The fact the traffic is all one way means that it's inevitable that it all end up in the same place. Like streams leading to rivers leading to oceans. The web is conceptualised as a network, but it's not, it's a system of funnels to suck us into a handful of services.

Maybe. It might be what you said.

thisonehasalittlehat - 05 Dec 2017 16:02:52 (#11 of 118)

Anyway it certainly seems true that whereas ten years ago it seemed that there were not natural monopolies - that as soon as Google took it's eye off the ball a competitor would step in and start eroding market share - the position of Google and Facebook and Amazon seem pretty stable right now. Apple is less of a worry as they'll be bust again in a decade.

Mind you, Microsoft were in this kind of position of a natural monopoly a generation back, and look at them now. It's not competition in the current cultural-space that'll do for Google and Facebook, it's the next cultural-space that they don't spot.

niggler - 05 Dec 2017 16:12:11 (#12 of 118)

I don't actually see how you could have a completely open 2-way network in that sense. Ordinary privacy, commercial, financial and security issues talk against it.

thisonehasalittlehat - 05 Dec 2017 16:16:53 (#13 of 118)

No, I know. It's a bit of a problem, really.

I mean you can regulate the hell out of the internet and world wide web, of course, but then you undermine its strengths.

Personally I'm not too pessimistic about it. I don't worry about Russian disinformaton, or about fake news, or any of that nonsense, because this is just versions of things we've seen before. But I worry a bit that no matter how good your search engine is, you're not going to knock google off its spot anytime soon. Because the web was meant to more of a level playing field than that. And the fact that from this level playing field you have emerging these very powerful bastions of control suggests to me that there's something structurally wrong with how it's all put together.

I was joking about the Ted Nelson reciprocal hyperlinks stuff.

Gotout - 05 Dec 2017 16:33:18 (#14 of 118)

I also refuse to have a smartphone. You're never alone with one of those things.

They do have an off switch.

thisonehasalittlehat - 05 Dec 2017 16:34:11 (#15 of 118)

Dude, did you not listen to Snowdon?

browserbutton - 05 Dec 2017 17:34:04 (#16 of 118)

The internet is bound to crash one day. It'll be like the fuse blowing on an iron lung -- big time.

levelgaze - 05 Dec 2017 17:47:01 (#17 of 118)

I enjoyed the report the other day about how Russian submarines spend increasing amounts of time cruising along the line of our main underwater data cables. And that the Russian Navy is equipped with big cable-cutting capacity.

AdrianNTierney - 05 Dec 2017 17:48:29 (#18 of 118)

There are multiple alternatives to each of those "tech giants". So ascribe their 'dominance' to a single, pervasive, human trait - laziness.

HerrWalrus - 05 Dec 2017 17:51:04 (#19 of 118)

Tech giants? Almost without exception they are tax-dodging destroyers of traditional jobs. The question is though -do they create enough new jobs (directly and indirectly) to compensate?

Also, if an enemy did work out how to stop the internet, could the country cope?

Gotout - 05 Dec 2017 17:52:20 (#20 of 118)

But we have to allow them to do what they like, otherwise they might take their skills elsewhere.

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