Today Transport for London has withheld a new licence for UBER to operate in London, two weeks ago China banned trading in BITCOIN and a month ago GOOGLE was fined E2.4b for abusing the advertising systems on their home page searches, APPLE just launched a £1000 phone and will become the first $trillion dollar business and FACEBOOK has to remove any articles within 2 hours that the UK Government deem as inappropriate.
So what is happening? Are the big tech companies just becoming too powerful?
On the face of it we seem to be given free services from the big tech players (except Amazon and Apple!). We can use Facebook, and Google for free and there are lots of free apps. But nothing in life is ever really free in the commercial world and everyday we divulge information and data that is used for profit by the big tech companies. We seem to believe this is a fair pay off until EQUIFAX are hacked and put 400,000 UK citizens at risk?
Are Governments just becoming scared and hitting out for control? How do we control our commercial borders if big tech companies have HQ's scattered across the lowest tax countries? How do we control currencies if there is a un-regulated virtual currency? How do we stop radicalization of minority groups if social media services take no responsibility for the content of their sites?
If North Korea are able to employ as many foreign nuclear engineers they like to teach them how to build nuclear weapons and Wikileaks easily gain access to information and publish it will are we close to a melt down. Then up pops Donald Trump and among other madness he seems to be a climate change and technology refusenic.
As a life long supporter of technology I for one hoped for a better outcome by 2017! The BREXIT situation also sums up a massive imbalance in views across Europe. Do we hunker down and have more control or just join a bigger organisation which is as controlling and in effect just as cut off from the rest of the World? One thing must be true however and that is the major problems of the world such as population growth, climate control , water and food availability, and energy are all of our problems and we must all do what we can to build strategies and solutions to address them. Ultimately the answer to many of the challenges will come from developing technology; materials, bio, pharma, comms. In all these areas new ideas continue to provide solutions but we have to have ways to introduce new ideas that do not build silos of wealth which force out other players. But openness can only go so far and Governments and businesses need to have ways to raise money and taxes to run services and manage communities. Democracy and capitalism have served us well although they have never slept well together!
So when technology begins to threaten law and order (maybe) and Super tech business have even more power than BIG energy businesses of the past what is to be done?
Well my answer is more innovation and more technology as the only other way is to undo the advances we have made and go backwards (The TFL UBER decision is backward, the right decision would be to give them time to address the issues and introduce a way foe the police to monitor the UBER app for instance). Another great technology which could be used to stop issues like the EQUIFAX breach (for instance) is new encryption systems and yes BLOCKCHAIN is one such technology that could help UBER for instance.
I will continue....