This Pandemic Gives More Power to Big Tech

· Andrew Orr · Link

App icons to signify big tech: Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple.

Kara Swisher wrote for The New York Times about how this pandemic will put even more power into the collective hands of Big Tech companies.

Now, as we turn to the healthy companies to help us revive the economy, it could be that the only ones with real immunity are the tech giants. In this way, Covid-19 has accelerated their rise and tightened their grip on our lives. And this consolidation of power, combined with Big Tech’s control of data, automation, robotics, artificial intelligence, media, advertising, retail and even autonomous tech, is daunting.

This has been my fear as well. What happens to all the small businesses unable to loans from the government and money from customers? They get swallowed by delivery apps, whether it’s for groceries, alcohol, or other goods.

Eric Schmidt Says Coronavirus Should Make You Grateful For Big Tech

· Andrew Orr · Link

Photo of Eric Schmidt

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt believes that the coronavirus should make everyone “a little bit grateful” for Big Tech, and direct their anger at the government instead.

The benefit of these corporations — which we love to malign — in terms of the ability to communicate … the ability to get information, is profound — and I hope people will remember that when this thing is finally over. So let’s be a little bit grateful that these companies got the capital, did the investment, built the tools that we’re using now and have really helped us out. Imagine having the same reality of this pandemic without these tools.

Of course, as Mr. Schmidt undoubtedly knows, reality is never black and white. We can be grateful to Big Tech while also keeping them and their policies in check. The internet is certainly an essential service, and this pandemic is an argument for making the internet a public utility.

EU Wants a Single Data Market to Challenge Big Tech

· Andrew Orr · Link

European Union flag

The European Union introduced a way to challenge the likes of Big Tech by creating a single market for data.

Measures to achieve that goal include an array of new rules covering cross-border data use, data interoperability and standards related to manufacturing, climate change, the auto industry, healthcare, financial services, agriculture and energy.

Other rules in the coming months will open up more public data on geospatial, the environment, meteorology, statistics and companies’ data across the bloc for companies to use for free.

Inside Big Tech’s Manipulation of AI Ethics Research

· Andrew Orr · Link

Human brain with neurons and code

It’s a long read, but Rodrigo Ochigame, former AI researcher at MIT’s Media Lab, examined Big Tech’s negative role in AI ethics research.

MIT lent credibility to the idea that big tech could police its own use of artificial intelligence at a time when the industry faced increasing criticism and calls for legal regulation…Meanwhile, corporations have tried to shift the discussion to focus on voluntary “ethical principles,” “responsible practices,” and technical adjustments or “safeguards” framed in terms of “bias” and “fairness” (e.g., requiring or encouraging police to adopt “unbiased” or “fair” facial recognition).

If Elizabeth Warren Wins Mark Zuckerberg Will Sue the Government

· Andrew Orr · Link

Mark Zuckerberg is scared of Elizabeth Warren over her plan to break up Big Tech monopolies, and a leaked audio recording reveals a rant in which he pledges to sue the government if she wins. You know, just your typical Tuesday stuff.

You have someone like Elizabeth Warren who thinks that the right answer is to break up the companies … if she gets elected president, then I would bet that we will have a legal challenge, and I would bet that we will win the legal challenge. And does that still suck for us? Yeah. I mean, I don’t want to have a major lawsuit against our own government. … But look, at the end of the day, if someone’s going to try to threaten something that existential, you go to the mat and you fight.