The Government vs. Big Tech In 2020 (Regular Users Are the Losers)

I’m interrupting humor and sarcasm to note a trend. If you read my about, I notice trends and patterns as facts begin to fall into place over time.

As always, the human race seems to come down to power (and other forms like sex and money). Not everyone wants it, but those addicted to it can’t get enough.

In 2020, Big Tech financed a lot of the election, probably on both sides but they seem to favor one side over the other. I’m not going to get into being political but both sides of the spectrum don’t serve us as well as they should. It seems that they serve themselves in terms of granting more power and control. On the other side of power is……

BIG TECH HAS BIG MONEY AND BIG INFLUENCE.

At some point, they tell you to follow the money. No one has more money (ergo influence) than Big Tech right now. I’ll give you that the government has more, they get it from taxpayers and the tech companies. They don’t have to earn it so it is less valuable and more widely wasted.

It’s not just about money though because money buys power and influence. Tech will likely sit their people in positions in the new cabinet, as currently elected but is not the big issue. It is trivial compared to the war.

The war is who controls the message.

GOVERNMENT IS GETTING GENERIC AND TECH RUNS RINGS AROUND THEM

After watching the tech hearings over the last couple of years, Congress is filled with mostly idiots when it comes to tech. They asked Facebook and Google simpleton questions I’d be embarrassed to ask my grandparents. Of course, the CEO’s ran circles around the questioners and frankly made them look like the emperor with no clothes . They didn’t even have to lie (although it looks like they bent the truth pretty heavily) because the questions were so elementary.

The result is that Tech (mostly the FAANGS) control the message that congress had a stranglehold on and the fight is on for said power. On the big tech side is the money and on the government side is regulation.

AMERICANS ARE WAKING UP TO THIS POWER STRUGGLE (AS IS THE REST OF THE WORLD)

I’m not the only one noticing this. This study (linked below) surveyed Americans, but users around the world are the same:

A majority of Americans across the political spectrum believe tech companies have too much power and do more harm than good, and most people have deep concerns about how companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google use their personal data, accordingto a new poll released today by Gallup and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The wide-ranging report, “Techlash? America’s Growing Concern with Major Technology Companies,” provides findings on how Americans view the roles internet and technology companies play in their lives and in society. Major findings include the following:

  • Americans believe internet and tech companies have a negative impact on American life: People think the companies do more to divide society (60%) than to unite it (11%); misinform the public about the news (47%) rather than make people more informed (19%); and create more problems than they solve (47%), rather than solve more problems than they create (15%).
  • Misinformation, hate speech and data privacy are top concerns: Americans are overwhelmingly concerned about misinformation on the internet (74%), the privacy of their personal data (68%), and they are very concerned about hate speech and other abusive or threatening language online (56%).
  • A bipartisan majority believes internet and tech companies have too much power: While 77% of Americans hold this opinion, Americans are equally divided on whether the government should intervene to break up these companies. Republicans tend to be more critical of internet and tech companies than Democrats and independents.
  • Americans say leaders are not paying enough attention: Fifty-nine percent say elected officials and political candidates are paying too little attention to technology issues, including 67% of young adults (aged 18-34) and 71% of Democrats, versus 43% of Republicans and 57% of independents.
  • People don’t trust tech companies to police content on their platforms, but they trust the government even less: A majority of Americans don’t trust internet and tech companies much (44%) or at all (40%) to make the right decisions about what content is allowed on online platforms. But 55% of people still prefer that the companies make those decisions, rather than the government (44%). 

We can’t count on the tech companies to do anything other than to seek power:

Self-regulation has failed. One of Silicon Valley’s most valuable assets until now has been the cultural permission to try new things. The public has put up with arrogant rhetoric and a lax attitude toward the law in exchange for innovative ideas that meaningfully improved upon the status quo. But it was a Faustian bargain, with untrammeled innovation raising the specter of uncontrolled growth. When we learn about Airbnb endangering neighbors, Twitter failing to stop rampant harassment, or YouTube radicalizing its viewers with an algorithm that recommends extremist content, we see the destructive harm technology companies can do and their unwillingness to rein in their greed. The narrative has shifted from a question of whether there will be regulation at all to the fight over who should make the rules—and how tough those rules should be.

WHAT ARE THE OUTCOMES?

Usually no one wins or the Government uses it’s tentacles to overwhelm companies with regulations. Tech has the power of the message and as much money. Further, with their hands in the pockets of the politicians and the ineptness of Congress, it let’s me think that Tech will have the early upper hand. Congress can pass laws, but tech is usually steps ahead and there is no telling what has been embedded in the future technology. It takes 5 years or so to bring a new product to market. The 2025 tech is already being tested in labs somewhere.

Sure, they might have to pay fines, but they are rounding errors at the rate tech is making money.

So I’m predicting this. It will be a standoff and both sides will struggle for power. In the meantime, users will suffer from regulation or invasion of privacy from both parties.

Congress will get more money out of the tech companies in the form of lobbying or the people they place in high positions. The relationship becomes incestuous.

Again, we are the losers.

Update: It’s already started with Amazon getting their hooks in first:

Amazon, the trillion-dollar tech company, has hired lobbyist Jeff Ricchetti, whose brother will be the top White House counselor to Joe Biden.

Jeff Ricchetti’s firm, which he founded in 2001 with his brother Steve Ricchetti, the incoming Biden adviser, registered as a lobbyist for Amazon on Nov. 13.

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