I just saw "Now You See Me 2." It stars Daniel Radcliffe as diabolical tech magnate Walter Mabry, who's a cross between Mark Zuckerberg and Lord Voldemort. According to the movie narration, Mabry and his associates "destroy people's lives, spying on the world… selling privacy to increase their profit." They also dispose of people in horrific ways, sometimes while laughing evilly. Ha ha ha!
Robert Epstein, PhD (@DrREpstein), is Senior Research Psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology in Vista, California. He has published fifteen books on A.I. and other topics, and is the former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today.
They have a lot of power over you—the power that comes with information—and you have no power over them.
This is what we have unknowingly signed up for—a world in which a vast and ever-increasing amount of power is concentrated in the hands of a small number of corporate executives—not just at Google, but, increasingly, at other companies that have adopted Google's deceptive revenue model.Magicians depend on misdirection to pull off their tricks; so does Google, and it has pulled off a trick that makes movie magic look trivial. It has befuddled us into thinking that its sweet suite of services exists entirely for our benefit. It has directed our attention away from the real purpose of those services: to get us to surrender every shred of our personal lives so it can leverage the information for profit, rapidly gaining the means to exert greater influence over us as it does so—threatening the freedom of people around the world as no other entity has ever done before.We need to start over. We need to force Google's sleight-of-hand business model into the light and to prohibit it by law. And Google's surface mission—to organize the world's information—needs to become a public project, not one run by a for-profit company. Looking back some day, I'm guessing people will think it odd that all of the world's information was once in the hands of a rapacious corporation.Public libraries don't have hidden agendas; they don't track people's personal habits and sell that information to the highest bidder; they don't lobby public officials or try to influence public opinion. The public search engine was suggested a few years ago in an article in The Nation, and an organization called Common Search is working now to put the idea into practice; this and similar efforts need to be taken seriously.Google's search engine is an annotated index to the world's websites; those websites belong to the world, not to Google, and so should the index, along with all the other "free" services Google and other companies are supposedly giving us. Those services were never free; we have been paying for them with our freedom.
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