The Tech Backlash

The problem isn’t so much that these companies are too big, but that they’ve lost control of their platforms.

Today the WSJ printed an exhaustive article about the sale of unsafe/fake/substandard merchandise on Amazon.

Once again, these tech companies are far ahead of the politicians, who’ve got no idea how they really work. The truth is that over half of sales on Amazon are from third parties, and the number is increasing. Furthermore, Amazon makes more money on third party products than it does on those it sells itself. In other words, Amazon is primarily a distribution company, but it’s got no idea what it’s distributing.

HOW CAN THIS BE?

This is what happens when you live in the land of visionaries focused first and foremost on profits, where their solution is always algorithms as opposed to human hands/eyeballs.

Not that there is not duplicity. Earlier this week, the WSJ printed an exhaustive analysis of how people are overpaying for bandwidth, as in they don’t need that much and they’re paying too much for what they do have. In other words, most people don’t need 100 Mbps down, never mind a multiple of that, and the cable companies trick customers into paying for higher speeds, often as freebies that expire.

Welcome to the information age, where there’s no consensus and the word can’t get out.

Now if this had been ten years ago, fifteen, these “Wall Street Journal” investigations would be all over the papers and TV, everybody would be aware of them. But today, the WSJ is a sideshow in news. Everything’s gone topsy-turvy. We pay attention to the talking heads/arguers on cable news and are exposed to disinformation online, to the point where the truth has little traction. Furthermore, there are bad actors doing their best to counter truth with falsehood, which is why YouTube shut down so many channels of propaganda re the Hong Kong protests. That’s right, in China people don’t know the truth. Now the perpetrators are trying to spread these falsehoods to not only Hong Kong, but the rest of the world, to change perception and quell unrest.

But we don’t believe this happens in the U.S. Mueller says the Russians are messing with our elections right now and the President pooh-poohs it. It’s as if D.C. is analog while the rest of the country is digital. And since everybody’s on their own in America, and tort lawyers are the enemy, if you’re the victim of an unsafe product, already banned but sold on Amazon, good luck fighting back. Especially if the seller is unfindable or out of business, which is oftentimes the case.

The lunatics have taken over the internet. It’s not only 8chan, but the big name companies, i.e. Amazon, Facebook and Google. Somehow, Apple has remained outside this fray, locking up its platform with rules for safety. But when it kicked the big guys out of their App Store (yup, the household names were hoovering up data from its customers via their apps), somehow Apple becomes the bad guy and relents. And the truth is, while most of the profits lay with Apple, the upscale choice, the world is dominated by Android with holes galore. That’s what happens when something is free, you’ve got to pay for it somehow.

So while the big bad tech companies are labeled as all-powerful monopolies, the truth that is being revealed is that they’ve lost control of their platforms, with seemingly no ability to get it back. If Amazon discontinues third party selling, its profits will crater, and investors won’t stand for it. There’s not enough money in the world to vet all YouTube videos. And Facebook is the land of Whac-A-Mole, only the platform doesn’t seem aware of the moles and doesn’t have enough firepower to quash them.

This was happening in front of our very eyes. But we became addicted to these services, and humans have an urge to connect, and are lazy and like delivery and are addicted to low prices. StubHub proffers an all-in price right upfront and sales tank. Somehow the public likes deception.

This is the story of our age, how no one is in control and nobody is talking about it. We’re busy raging about Trump when our nation is being eaten up and torn apart from the inside. Hell, look at spam e-mail, after two and a half decades it’s still an issue, and phishing scams are still prevalent. And now the big story is fighting robocalls. But there’s always a provider who will allow them (they’re sent via the internet, i.e. VOIP). This is a quality of life issue. But the truth is most people will not answer a phone call unless they know who’s on the line. But somehow these same people will wander into the wilderness and play on social networks and buy from Amazon.

It’s like one of those alien/monster movies. Or like “2001.” We’ve built the platforms and now they’ve turned on us and are wreaking havoc.

And the word is just getting out, and no one has got a solution.

And no one can get the word out accurately to the masses. We’re in our own silos, with our own tribes, and we don’t trust anything from outsiders.

Once upon a time we believed in musicians.

But then they put money before art and lost our faith.

And then for twenty years we placed our faith in the techies, at least they said they were into the money right up front, and there were a hell of a lot more zeros.

But now the techies have been revealed to be flawed personally, as well as their products.

But few know and few know where to turn. The canard is if you’ve got enough guns you can save yourself. But this is patently untrue. The next war, the coming war, the war that is happening right now, is being waged via 0’s and 1’s, i.e. digitally. Those who can program, who can use the new tools, who understand them, who are aware of their flaws, cannot only run circles around the hoi polloi, but the government itself.

And we argue about social issues because we can’t understand technology.

You have to know how the machine works, you have to have the power of analysis. But in a world where everybody thinks they’re going to be a rapper or an influencer, the hoi polloi have no clue.

And it affects you.

“Amazon Has Ceded Control of Its Site. The Result: Thousands of Banned, Unsafe or Mislabeled Products – Just like tech companies that have struggled to tackle misinformation on their platforms, Amazon has proven unable or unwilling to effectively police third-party sellers on its site”

 

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