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…In Which Yours Truly Resolves the Universal Basic Income Issue

…In Which Yours Truly Resolves the Universal Basic Income Issue

Every now and then we like to flip the model – and the talking points. Seems that the model of tech is freemium. Everyone loves to get stuff for free – no one more than the tech cartel, particularly Facebook and Google. As the Wall Street Journal (Tech’s Titans Tiptoe Towards Monopoly) noted, Google and Facebook “benefit from something historically unprecedented: the ability to get users to subsidize them with enormous quantities of free labor. Their systems are fueled by personal information.”

Here’s a thought: since the cartel are such outspoken advocates of Universal Basic Income, let’s make it easy for them to literally put their money where their mouths are by having them pay users for providing information/content every time they post/share/search. These systems are built on algorithms: they can no doubt figure it out. There’s even a metric for payment to writers. On the lowest end (and far from our rate, fyi): two cents per word. Read More...

The Birth of the User-Owned Economy

The Birth of the User-Owned Economy

This past week was Blockchain Week in New York, in tandem with back peddling on the part of the tech cartel. As Quartz noted, “Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, long under fire for “programming people’s brains,” will testify before the European parliament about his company’s use of data. Not long after, transformative new European privacy rules go into effect that will give EU consumers far more visibility into what companies know about them.

“Now, tech CEOs insist they want to be part of the solution. On Tuesday, Facebook-owned Instagram confirmed a feature that will let users track their time spent on the platform. A week earlier, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced a Digital Wellbeing initiative geared at helping people moderate their use of Google’s products and services by suggesting breaks from YouTube or batching notifications.” Read More...

Rock, Paper, Scissors: Defining the Tech Cartel

Rock, Paper, Scissors: Defining the Tech Cartel

Facebook defines itself as a tech company. Google does as well. Jeff Bezos, who owns Amazon as well as the Washington Post, defines the latter as a tech company, too, which, technically, means that the once venerated news organization, by definition, should no longer be considered a news publication of record, and thanks for playing.

Can’t have it both ways,

but definitions seem to be somewhat fluid in the tech world. All depends on which way the winds are blowing. Read More...

Beware the Tech Cartel and People Who Speak in Code

Beware the Tech Cartel and People Who Speak in Code

We follow Max Levchin on Twitter. Last week, he posted an interesting series of tweets, based on an Edelman Trust Barometer Report that was released at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.

For the record, Levchin was co-founder and CTO of Paypal; former Chairman of Yelp; founder/CEO of Slide (acquired by Google and shut down); currently, founder of Affirm, and a long-time WEF attendee. Read More...

That Other Memo and the Glass House that Google Built

That Other Memo and the Glass House that Google Built

Since memos seem to be top of mind these days, why fight it? Of course, we refer to the one that former Google employee James Damore wrote a while back, that led to his being terminated from the company, and the impending lawsuit that threatens to out a lot of practices and perhaps unwritten policies that Google would prefer not be aired in public.

It seems that memos will do that, once they’re out in the wild, and certain memos are harbingers of a deeper and more far reaching issues. Read More...

The Wizards of Menlo Park

The Wizards of Menlo Park

Whenever we notice a preponderance of attention being paid to one aspect of tech – lately, how the platforms and devices are rewiring our brains and mental states- we assume that that’s where the chorus wants us. We’re always more interested in what they don’t want us to notice.

Much. Read More...

Net Neutrality and Other Tech Oxymorons

Net Neutrality and Other Tech Oxymorons

The Net Neutrality (NN) issue has surfaced again under new FCC commissioner Ajit Pai, who’s threatening to reverse it. The tech cartel, including Google, Facebook and Twitter, have come down strongly against the move, framing it, once again, as control over that so-called last mile being the proverbial ‘us’ versus ‘them’ scenario. Why not? Worked the first time under the less than transparent 332-page regulation that passed in 2015. All things considered, we can’t help but wonder if the real problem is Ajit Pai or agitprop.

Net Neutrality basically mandates that all data on the internet must be treated equally, but that’s misleading. We’ve previously covered how the tech cartel has wrested enormous financial benefits and control over content under the 2015 rules, and given the amount of censorship that they’ve managed to exert since the rules went into effect, it seems that the telcos weren’t necessarily the problem and that NN was not necessarily the solution. Read More...

Mr. Zuckerberg Did NOT Go to Washington

Mr. Zuckerberg Did NOT Go to Washington

While Mark Zuckerberg may or may not be angling to move into the White House at some time in the none-too-distant future, Capitol Hill clearly holds no fascination for him.

Apologies if we sound a bit redundant, but given the testimony of Facebook, Twitter and Google before a Senate subcommittee this past week, hard to ignore the Russian ad issue/conundrum and its larger implications.

Net States Rule the World; We Need to Recognize Their Power, posits Alexis Wichowski in Wired. “Net-states are digital non-state actors, without the violence. Like nation-states, they’re a wildly diverse bunch. Some are the equivalent to global superpowers: the Googles, the Facebooks, the Twitters….There are also hacktivist collectives like Anonymous and Wikileaks….Regardless of their differences in size and raison d’etre, net-states of all stripes share three key qualities: They exist largely online, enjoy international devotees, and advance belief-driven agendas that they pursue separate from, and at times, above, the law.” Read More...

Tech and the Myth of Net Neutrality

Tech and the Myth of Net Neutrality

Mention ‘Net Neutrality’ and the tech uberlords are quick to whip the masses into a frenzy.

Merriam Webster defines Net Neutrality as “the idea, principle, or requirement that Internet service providers should or must treat all Internet data as the same regardless of its kind, source, or destination … a philosophical contest that’s being fought under the banner of “net neutrality,” a slogan that inspires rhetorical devotion but eludes precise definition. Broadly, it means everything on the Internet should be equally accessible—that the Internet should be a place where great ideas compete on equal terms with big money.—Sarah Rabil

For the tech uberlords, the demise of Net Neutrality means that their content will be sidelined or more costly to access, with preference going to the content provided by the big pipe owners: namely, the Comcasts and Spectrums (formerly Time Warner) of the world. Read More...

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