Wednesday, December 13, 2017 / Perth Australia / By Niekie Jooste
In this edition of "The WelderDestiny Compass":
Remember how the internet was going to restore our freedom? Remember how all those new internet businesses were going to give us, the little man in the street, an even opportunity to stand up for ourselves and make a difference in this world?
Remember how great Google was? Instead of having to constantly be bombarded by all those pesky adds on the hub websites like AOL and Yahoo, we could find anything we wanted through a simple search. We did not even have to wait for the page to load with all the new adds flashing at us.
How great are the social media websites? They enable us to interact with all our friends and / or colleagues at the press of a button instead of having to reach out to each one individually.
All these big technology companies were initially so great, but now things seem to be changing. Suddenly we feel that they are so big and powerful that they can do anything they want without fearing repercussions. In our minds they are starting to become part of "the dark side" rather than the saviours that they initially appeared to be.
Where are these changes in perception coming from, and what will the final outcome be? Today we try to answer some of these questions. While these questions are interesting in themselves, understanding the dynamics behind these perceptual changes will also help us to steer through the potential changes that lie ahead.
If you would like to add your ideas to this week’s discussion, then please send me an e-mail with your ideas, (Send your e-mails to: firstname.lastname@example.org) or complete the comment form on the page below.
Now let's get stuck into this week’s topics...
There seems to be a never ending media discussion about how the Russians interfered with the US elections. People seem to think that this is all about president Trump, but if we look deeper we see that the allegations have moved toward the role of the social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and the use of internet advertising.
The idea being that these social media channels have been used and abused by foreign powers to influence people to vote in a different way to what they would under normal circumstances. The implications seem clear. These channels need to be policed to ensure that such abuses do not happen again.
This is not limited to the meddling of foreign powers. We are told how terrorists too are using Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to recruit members and organise their activities.
The media will also not let us forget how these companies use their international footprint to evade taxes. Companies such as Google and Amazon are also constantly being subjected to anti-trust investigations.
The conclusion seems clear. These companies are colluding with spies, thieves and terrorists. They cannot be trusted, so they obviously need to be regulated by the state.
Previously we looked at the psychology of what drives human behaviour, and came to the conclusion that it is generally selfish motives. This is the case for both the big technology businesses and the governments. There are no saints in this picture. It is always about power and money.
The media reports putting the big technology companies in a bad light should be seen for what it is. It is the authorities preparing the "voters" for their efforts to pull these wayward companies into line. It is about reducing their power base, because they are becoming a threat to the political power base.
If the right groundwork is not laid, then any moves will look like the politicians are oppressing people's freedoms. With the right groundwork, it will look like the politicians are protecting the man in the street.
Given that the big technology companies are not saints, this is not a difficult process!
Technology can be used for good and for evil. It can free and enslave.
Governments can do good by protecting their citizens, or they can do evil by eroding personal freedoms and abusing their power for personal gain.
There are no Jedi knights or evil Sith lords in any of these stories. There are only people pursuing their own interests. As the "everyday people on the street", we must try to keep an open mind, and try to identify abuses of power. In those situations we need to look for a better alternative.
In the case of big technology companies, there almost always is an alternative. You can vote with your money. In the case of corrupt governments, it is not so easy. More often than not, the problem lies in the system that does not align the interests of the politicians with those of the citizens. Not an easy problem to solve, but at least we can see the obvious if we keep our eyes open.
Keeping our eyes on these trends is not only good for our own freedoms, but also give us some feeling for the direction of the next trend. It is by identifying these trends that we can have a half decent chance of making predictions of the future.
As this wrestle for power between big tech and governments unfold, we will start to see which way the wind blows, enabling us to use this new information to chart a course, and make some new predictions, and possibly profit along the way.
Talking of profit, have you dabbled in the crypto market yet? I hope you have, but also hope that you do so carefully and responsibly. This is high risk, and another area the governments are trying to regulate, so anything is possible!
Yours in welding
Do You Have Thoughts About This Week's E-Zine?
Now is your opportunity to contribute to the topics in this week's The WelderDestiny Compass. If you have thoughts or examples that you would like to share with other readers of the e-zine, then please contribute by entering the title of your contribution in the box below. Feel free to make a brief or more expansive contribution to our discussion...
Do you think that the big technology companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Twitter are becoming more of a menace than a help to society? Do you think that government oversight should be increased, or should they keep their noses out of this? Please share your stories, opinions and insights regarding today's topic.