That is how we sometimes see a book, a doorstop, a missile towards our partners (and sometimes really annoying elderly teens), a weight for the papers we need, when a book is not really what we wanted, it gets a secondary function. So even as some saw this specific book as ‘A beautiful defense of the common man and woman against a technological elite’, I consider a book like ‘The Tyranny of Big Tech’ as one that is not stating the issues.
Did I read it?
Nope, and I do not have to, the article clearly shows a republican (who looks like he recently stopped being a teenager) who is aiming for money from both the left and the right. When we see “According to Hawley, it’s not our politicians, our lawyers, our Ivy League graduates, or our Hollywood celebrities. It’s Big Tech – those big names like Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Apple, and Google that have embedded themselves in our lives to an almost irreversible degree”, I see the beginning of a BS string of texts that will most certainly become debatable and utterly rejectable. You see Zuckerberg attended Harvard whilst designing Facebook, Dorsey came up with the idea for Twitter at NYU, Jeff Bezos was already done with Princeton when Amazon became the idea, Apple was the child of Steve Jobs who attended part of Reed and dropped out, Sergey Brin and Larry Page came from Stanford, so what is left of “not our Ivy League graduates”? Oh and I with my 5G IP am from UTS (Sydney), so there! And when we get to “have embedded themselves in our lives to an almost irreversible degree” we get a lot more. Apple (Macintosh) offered what consumers wanted, Google did the same, Facebook did it even more and created a new digital era and they all OFFERED it to consumers, they planned long term and they won, the small minded people lost. The exception is the Amazon guy who doesn’t need to spend on Shampoo, he offered something to rural people all over the world which they never had access too. In the US this is 60,000,000 people and in the EU it is 125,000,000. One firm aimed for a little over 180 million consumers. The people shops forgot and now Amazon is the bad guy? So this is the setting from the start and the man with the teenager look (Josh Hawley) is already off to a bad start. So when we see “the robber barons reshaped the economy into a corporate monopoly to serve their own ends, in which an aristocratic elite govern above the labouring masses”, all whilst the US government stole from the native Americans whatever they could (99.655% roughly) is like the pot calling the kettle black. In this one pushed what they wanted, the other (current big tech) let the people decide on WHAT they desired and the consumers liked the free 1GB email (Google) whilst the internet providers offered 20MB for a fee. What would you do? That same grocery store (still Google) came up with additional ways to service the consumers (cookies anyone?), the offered shopping, information and choice, whilst those dabbling on the internet wee all about grabbing whatever coins they could get. When the consumers were happy players like Amazon created the Amazon Web Services offering a pay as you go approach, a cloud approach to small businesses. First web services in 2002 and cloud services in 2008, it would take IBM and Microsoft years to offer anything near that, the big tech of then were made basically redundant. And with the pay as you go there was a larger SaaS (Software as a Service) setting. The big 5 became big not because “Big Tech is a direct descendent of the Gilded Age robber barons”, but because they offered choice when the others were unwilling to do so. In this Apple stands alone. They were always the elite DTP solution (a lot more expensive than others) and in 1998 they recognised the needs of the consumer and the iMac was born, all whilst the consumer got the amazing phrase “There’s no step 3!”, an affordable solution in an age where PC’s were still running behind the facts. If you were not up to speed you were either lost or you became an Apple user. All this whilst the writer wants to push “descendent of the Gilded Age robber barons”, a stage none of them pushed for, it merely is in the statements of those who were asleep at the wheel between 1996-2006, they lost it all by not pushing the envelope and 5 companies got ahead. The fifth (Netflix) was like Facebook, it offered something never offered before and whilst we had to seek TV provider after TV provider, they offered what we wanted, movies and specifically movies not hindered by advertisements. They went from sales to rental to streaming and as the firm started in 1998, Hulu, Stan, HBO Max and Disney Plus, some well over a decade AFTER Netflix, so the statement from Josh Hawley is not just bogus, it is utter nonsense. So when we see “Washington, D.C. politicians routinely protect the interests of Big Tech over and against the freedom and well-being of the American people” we see the joke that this book seemingly is. These systems were offered to consumers, you can walk away! I kept my Yahoo account for years later, until the information offered was too outdated or too much adjusted for localisation (against my will), so when we see ‘well-being of the American people’ I wonder what data he can actually produce (raw data, not aggregated and weighted data) and in the grand scheme of things, the US has 320 million people, Europe has 750 million and India has 1.3 billion. All enjoying what the five players are offering. In all that, the US is a mere 15% and on the global scale they do not add up to much, and the US is actually part of that failing. In the era of 1990-2010 American firms remained largely absent on the international scale, relying on someone to pick up the ball and none of them did and the American needs were swallowed by the voice of the consumers, no barons, no lawyers and no politicians. The people wanted what Google offered and Youtube now has over 2,000,000,000 viewers (I am one of them), so far none of the offerers were able to meet this and more important by 2005 both IBM and Microsoft were merely relying on Adobe Flash, these two players had nothing to offer. In 15 years they never really woke up and here I get to use Microsoft against itself with “Microsoft Stream is a corporate video-sharing service which was released on June 20, 2017 that will gradually replace the existing Office 365 Video”, so 12 years of inactivity, in comparison, the Chinese (the makers of Won Ton soup) gave us TikTok one year earlier and now has 100,000,000 active users. Players like IBM and Microsoft have been that much asleep at the wheel. As I personally see it, American BigTech is the only player (all 5 of them) that stops the USA from becoming utterly irrelevant, if they were not there China would be superpower number one and they are close of becoming that anyway, any issues with BigTech and every BS article in every newspaper with some ‘alleged’ and ‘watchdog’ is merely another delay and it will help China to become the greatest tech power, US politicians (EU politicians as well) are helping China meet that goal.
BigTech, the virgin
BigTech is not holy, it is not innocent and it is no virgin (they got screwed by global politicians again and again, so they are definitely not virgins), BigTech are merely the innovators we always needed and the rest is merely a wannabe player, even Microsoft and IBM have fallen that much from grace. Microsoft had the most powerful console in the world and within 2 years they were surpassed by the weakest console of all (Nintendo Switch), IBM has its own stream of non-successes, and they are all crying to their politicians as to the bad bad tech companies. Most of them had no idea what the digital era was until they were surpassed by a lot of other players (some of them Asian). So when we consider the stage, we need to see the whole stage, not some setting of “Ending Big Tech’s sovereignty is about taking back our own, and we can begin to do that in the lives we live together. Big Tech works relentlessly to force individuals into its ecosystem of addiction, exhibitionism, and fear of missing out. It seeks to create its own social universe and draw all of life into its orbit. But the real social world, the life of family and neighbourhood – the authentic communities that sustain authentic togetherness – can act as a counterweight to Big Tech’s ambitions”, in this phrases like ‘force individuals’ is massively wrong, people have choices. I do not have Facebook on my mobile, I have no need for it there, I do not order from Amazon (I am a support your local hooker kind of guy) and I have currently no Netflix or Disney Plus subscription. That is 3 out of 5, I have an Apple because Microsoft dropped the ball 4 times in the last 5 years and IBM is too expensive for what it offers. I chose! We can all choose and that is where we realise that ‘The Tyranny of Big Tech’ is like a Chicago politician, all hot air and not too much on substance (judging from the article (at https://mindmatters.ai/2021/06/a-book-review-the-tyranny-of-big-tech/). He might at some point present a few parts that are relevant, I am certain that he will, but as a former Missouri’s Attorney General he will tread on places where he knows the answers, so as I see “holding Big Tech accountable where others don’t dare tread. In investigations, in legislation”, I merely wonder how much legislation against BigTech made it through? It matters because it is what you can prove that matters, not what you claim. I made no claims, it is all timeline stuff, including the Chinese parts.
Consider the choices YOU have, and make choices, it is your right. You need not be on Google, you can select Microsoft Bing. You will lose out on a lot but that is the choice you make. For well over 20 years Google offered choices, YOU were the consumer that selected WHERE you wanted to go and you went there. All whilst Microsoft could not be bothered, it seems to me that the Netscape Victory made them lazy and now they are no longer the relevant company, they are merely the Column B (or C) company. And consider being in a place like Antigo Wisconsin. Now try to buy a game, a DVD, a bluray, a 4K movie, a CD and a book. How many of these items will require Amazon? It was the foundation of 4G (Wherever I am) and it will be the stage of 5G (wheneverI want it), so when will 5G be available in Antigo Wisconsin? Consider these points and consider whatever Josh Hawley is trying to imprint on you and consider what you can find out for yourself. BigTech is not evil, BigTech is because the others became lazy, BigTech merely is and governments do not like the self sufficient organisations, the ones that do not make large contributions to them. In the end if you look into the shareholders and stakeholders of some of these players you get a very different picture, one you need to be wary of.