We are supposed to be a free society in which people who aren’t doing fraudulent business can do business. That includes Google and Facebook.
But there is nothing wrong with highlighting the practices of these companies. That is well within the rights of citizens in a free society (obviously).
I think tech addiction is a legitimate concern. I think people spend way too much time on their phone sometimes. I am concerned with how algorithms manipulate web traffic. I am concerned by the increasing censorship we see from the web giants. I am most concerned by the partnering of these web giants with government. That should concern all of us aside from the most extreme PC totalitarians.
So a private group focusing on problems with tech and society could be a good thing. I just hope that this group can embrace a diverse, as in politically diverse, spirit. I hope that it will encourage transparency and will help the market correct as makes sense. The last thing we want is government going in and passing anti-speech and likely anti-constitutional laws. That will only solidify the position of these companies and codify any abuses paradoxically.
(From The New York Times)
“We were on the inside,” said Tristan Harris, a former in-house ethicist at Google who is heading the new group. “We know what the companies measure. We know how they talk, and we know how the engineering works.”
The effect of technology, especially on younger minds, has become hotly debated in recent months. In January, two big Wall Street investors asked Apple to study the health effects of its products and to make it easier to limit children’s use of iPhones and iPads. Pediatric and mental health experts called on Facebook last week to abandon a messaging service the company had introduced for children as young as 6. Parenting groups have also sounded the alarm about YouTube Kids, a product aimed at children that sometimes features disturbing content.
But this effort is being driven by Jim Steyer, Tom Steyer’s (the hyper statist billionaire from California, not one of the good guys by any stretch) brother. So we might have as much to be concerned with with this group as we do Google and Facebook. Consider this:
The new group also plans to begin lobbying for laws to curtail the power of big tech companies. It will initially focus on two pieces of legislation: a bill being introduced by Senator Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, that would commission research on technology’s impact on children’s health, and a bill in California by State Senator Bob Hertzberg, a Democrat, which would prohibit the use of digital bots without identification.
So in other words they just want the government to be the censors. That is totally the wrong direction. By the way, the guys founding this group all made bazillions from the the social media they say they now abhor. That needs to be kept in mind.
Also keep in mind that George Soros, no friend of free speech, just threatened the social media companies in Davos. (Saying that the days of social media companies are “numbered.”) Soros money and Steyer money often find their way to the same groups. So that should be of REAL concern.