Today is about an opinion piece by Shoshana Zuboff, Zuboff graces us (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jul/02/facebook-google-data-change-our-behaviour-democracy) with: ‘It’s not that we’ve failed to rein in Facebook and Google. We’ve not even tried‘. It’s a good piece, I do not completely agree, but it is a good piece and you should read it. The start is actually full on when we see: “tech giants use our data not only to predict our behaviour but to change it“, it is not actually an attack on democracy, but the applied pressure on our way of thinking, consumer adjusting if you will. Then we get to the part that has an issue, with “In 2011, the former Google CEO Eric Schmidt warned that government overreach would foolishly constrain innovation“, it is not that, it is actually a lot worse than that. It is the stage where big business goes its own way, regardless of what any government dictates and governments are all about facilitating. when we see all governments drop down on so called individuals committing fraud (which is fair enough) staging thousands of man hours finding these dozen or so people, all whilst places like Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook pay a mere 1% of 3 billion plus, do you think that there might be a pattern? A solution offered by me 20 years ago, ignored, shunned and ridiculed could have made things a lot better, but these people ignore it. They did not fail calculus, did they? When you realise these two simple parts, you see that government officials and big business fat cats go like hand in glove, but which of the two is the glove?
Now we get to the good part. We now see: “Facebook giving private information to developers, and more. Each of these was an expression of a larger breakthrough: the invention of what I call surveillance capitalism“, the writer is not wrong, but as I personally see it the writer is incomplete. It is only in part surveillance capitalism, you see capitalism is merely the consumer item; the actual currency in this capitalism is data. Data is everything and Google figured that out from the very very beginning. It took a decade to get where they are now, but that long play changed everything for Larry Page and Sergey Brin, they had been right from the very beginning and it is one of the reasons why I contain my IP for them or Ren Zhengfei, as I personally see it they are the only ones who can take my billion dollar IP (a mere slight exaggeration) and turn it into some serious cash, but I digress.
You see, the realisation that they saw it correctly from the beginning is essential, data is like the application of greed, it value is contained by always getting more. A billionaire becomes stagnant as he/she lives of the interest, stagnancy kills in the end and in data it becomes certain death, so data must always grow, which is exactly why the entire Huawei mess is not a good thing, not for Apple Iovesa and not for Google Androidian.
So far I merely create a side-track and it is all still on the Zuboff train to eternity. It is when we see: “A leaked Facebook document in 2018 describes its machine-learning system that “ingests trillions of data points every day” and produces “more than 6m predictions per second”. Finally, these prediction products are sold to business customers in markets that trade in human futures” this is where we see the first part that should wake us up. It is connected to “our societies successfully confronted destructive forms of capitalism in the past, asserting new laws that tethered capitalism to the real needs of people. Democracy ended the Gilded Age. We have every reason to believe that we can be successful again“, it is a nice premise but it is where the plan falls apart and it all fails. You see the biggest flaw is not them; it is us, the people. We expect all digital media be for free. We want it all and we do not want to pay for it, in addition that this economy implies that we cannot buy too many items before the budget hits our food needs, at that point we see that we are limiting ourselves. There is no free ride, there never was! As people refuse to learn this lesson they are confronted with the notion that they surrender their data as it is currency, it is not taxed and the people are happy, the merely had to hand over their soul if you will be, their personal data to well over a million people with a Faustian agreement and many were happy to do so because they do not comprehend what they signed up for. They are in denial through: “it is supposed to be free, yes?” Nothing is free and nothing is for free. These developers have to pay rent, they want either a gorgeous girlfriend, or they need enough for hookers. It seems plain and bland, but there you have it. Sex sells and sex is never free, not even when they marry the option. It is the simplest of evolutionary points. Be in denial as much as you care to be, but that notion should make it clear that nothing is free. You see, if you bought a program, you get to have rights. They get to be liable and when they consider that 95% of their user base would not be their customer base their income would be exceedingly limited, so as we realise that data is all, data is cash we see the path that is a problem. True democracy is not free either, as such the problem merely becomes bigger. Consider the people using Microsoft Word and those paying for Microsoft Word; we see a difference is a much larger part of several nations. If one does not pay in one way, one pays in another form and data is often that form. So as we get all these Google apps (or Apple apps) to aid us, we are all happy but that reliance on Google/Apple gives them the data they need to make predictive analytics and evolve it at some point into Artificial Intelligence.
At that point the writer becomes absolutely brilliant and gives us: “Data ownership is an individual solution when collective solutions are required. We will never own those 6m predictions produced each second. Surveillance capitalists know this. Clegg knows this. That is why they can tolerate discussions of “data ownership” and publicly invite privacy regulation“, Shoshana Zuboff has figured it out. It is the predictions that move forward and give these firms the additional capital they need, in addition it is almost like answers versus responses. they are two different things, a person can answer you whilst never responding to the question, they can also respond to the question and never give you an answer and whilst you ponder this consider that people are 97% sheep, so the 6 million predictions go a long way. Now consider that 6 million predictions needs a lot of data and when the US trade war comes to blow, Huawei will get a share of users, a large share of users that will then become unavailable to Google when the isolation increases, optionally unavailable to Apple too and so on, a new data currency will be created and when that data is 5G based Huawei data will grow faster and faster whilst Google data will end up coming to a standstill, 6 million predictions become 2 million, become 666,666 (I had to go there), in two hardware revolutions (less than two years) the system has to deal with collapse. OK, it is only partial exaggerated, but that is what happens when everything goes positive for Huawei, when they deliver 5G, when the others falter to a larger degree, when their infrastructure is not ready for latency and congestion this is what we will face, the Trump administration was actually that stupid.
And then we get to the final part where the ball is struck out, not out of the field, but merely the ball is out. When we see: “Surveillance capitalists are rich and powerful, but they are not invulnerable. They fear law. They fear lawmakers. They fear citizens who insist on a different path“, I can tell you right now that they do not. The largest issue with tax laws is that they catered to big business for two decades, and that will not stop, if you think that there is no one willing to compromise to the largest extend, I will introduce you to a politician and they will compromise to the largest extent, it is merely towards big business and we have decades of examples in a whole league on nations, so do you really think we have nothing to fear? We do and until proper taxation is in place and until the large corporations are given a proper tax invoice we will see more and more. So when you get another headline like: ‘Australia targets cryptocurrencies in international tax crackdown‘, you better believe that it is a joke, it will be high visibility with claims like “J5 was formed a year ago because of growing concern that tax avoidance, cybercrime and crypto currency abuse were escalating as criminals exploited differences between national tax laws“, you better believe that you are sold some bag of goods. ‘growing concern‘ and ‘exploited differences between national tax laws‘ and consider that the first is not proven and the second is stated in such a way that it is optionally not even a crime, the laws are not properly in place, so consider these empty efforts and the facts below
- Apple’s statutory 30 percent tax bill of $76.6 million was compounded by a number of additional tax expenses, adding up to a total income tax expense of $183 million for 2017
- Apple has paid its largest Australian tax bill in years as it reached $8 billion in local revenue for the first time.
- Australians paid Google $4.3 billion for consumer items/software.
- Google had a corporate tax bill of only $26.5 million.
- Facebook scored more than $500,000,000 for services in 2018.
- Facebook paid a mere $11.8 million in corporate tax.
These are merely three of the larger players and we haven’t even considered Amazon and Netflix yet. Is it really about crypto currency whilst there is an optional one billion ($1,000,000,000) up for the taking once we get politicians that actually fix taxation laws. You really thing that these people fear laws when they can make a deal (read: national economic agreement) with whichever politician is elected? Go cry me a river please.
Oh and let’s not forget that this is merely Australian number for merely three firms, so let’s get real about data currency and the value it has, because as I see it the law will still not be up to scrap and ready in another 10 years, we will at that point be optionally in (or towards) a 6G stage and most cannot even comprehend the impact of that much data per minute on a national economy at present, there is really no way to tell.
In the end there is part that is an attack on democracy, yet not in the way that we see it. You see, we see that numbers, statistics and dashboards help us make our place more efficient, you see it in shops and in offered services, but when the streamlining begins and the shop becomes more efficient we see the impact, it is not that we cannot have a democratic voice, we see
(yet not realise) that the choices are no longer there. It is the most dangerous of democratic impacts as it tends to be subtly. A clever question was asked of me once, a consideration: ‘What if we only please 80% of our customer base, not 93%?‘ It is the immediate and direct impact of the cost of doing business. The question makes perfect sense, but what happens when one of the lost 13% has a direct link to a large player like Johnson & Johnson, McKesson or Marathon Petroleum? What happens when we cannot get their business because we limited ourselves through the cost of doing business? You cannot answer that can you? That is fine, it was not a test, it is to show that there is always a price to limiting choice and or those chosen it works out fine, but real innovation comes from inclusion, not limitation and that is where we are, we are so streamlines, all the same people living in San Francisco (I wrote about this in an earlier blog), it is all the same, we all become the same, we all become a limited version of ourselves and the people in charge cannot learn that lesson because they do not care, their pocket were filled, which was their priority. It was the only goal they had and that is why my IP is not available (merely to a chosen few), that is why I wait, in the end it is either lost or I win, perhaps someone else will have the same idea in 5-10 years, but at that stage I will no longer care, I will already have moved on to different and better challenges as well as new puzzles.
My creative mind allows me to redesign almost anything and create based on what I see, the creative mind only stops at death and that is not even proven at present, I remain hopeful that the people figure it all out before it is too late for them.