May 17th, 2018
Perhaps it is my own curious set of individual anxieties fueled by a deep personal aversion to share and socialize (I have nothing interesting to tell you and it is highly likely that you have nothing interesting to tell me) but it has been clear to me for several years now that modern technology, especially that driven by personal data, is deeply antagonistic to a well functioning society of human beings. Companies like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and many others in their wake are creating a society which is highly partisan and hyper-reactive on one side and losing control of its destiny in a very real way on the other. It is time that society as a whole decides to impose severe costs on these tech companies for the ruin that these companies are affecting on the social fabric. These severe costs could be in the form of steep taxes which lead to a massive redistribution of the wealth that these companies have amassed at the cost of our privacy and agency or they could be in the form of breaking up these companies. The argument that this would severely undermine the innovativeness of these companies should actually be the goal. Society must realize that the innovations which these companies represent is not worth having and it would be in the long term benefit of humanity if these and similar companies were far less powerful than they are now. The jaundiced eye with which we look at Wall Street must now be turned to Silicon Valley if we, as a society, are to survive this century.