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Saturday, January 9, 2021

THE HAPPENING WORLD: Time for Life after Google?


With a perfect storm of banning, de-platforming, un-publishing, and un-personing underway by the “social media” (Hayek observed in The Fatal Conceit that any word in the English language is devalued by preceding it with “social”) companies and their “woke” allies in the corporate world, media, and academia, it might be an excellent week-end to read, or re-read George Gilder's superb Life after Google (link is to my review: a Kindle edition is available).

Gilder explains how today's monolithic and monopolistic “data silos” are the consequences of the technologies and economic incentives under which they evolved, and that these precursors are on the threshold of being rendered as impotent and obsolete by emerging technologies (such as ubiquitous and inexpensive broadband connectivity via 5G mobile and massive low-Earth orbit satellite constellations, secure and distributed peer-to-peer data storage and transaction processing, and decentralised and secure payment and micropayment systems) as the continental-scale railroad-era coercive empires and the central banks and fiat money which sustain them.


Think about it—do we really want to live in a world where Chong, Apu, and Data get to decide what constitutes acceptable speech for human beings around the world? We presently have nearly all the technologies at hand to supplant these obsolescent and manipulative cathedrals of coercion with a bazaar in which people own their own data, cannot be silenced, and are compensated for their work on their own terms, not subject to the approval of oligarchs or illegitimate state control. (I say “nearly” because we aren't quite there when it comes to large-volume, high bandwidth video and streaming, but the widespread roll-out of 5G and the next generation of storage devices will take care of that.) Deploying these technologies in a way that empowers individuals and organisations that adopt them and leaving behind the present dark era which has betrayed the original promise and, indeed, the design goals of the Internet and the World-Wide Web, is one of the outstanding technological challenges and opportunities of the day. Indeed, were I a few decades younger, it's what I'd be working on right now, with the expectation not only of making the world a better place but, while giving away all of the core technologies for free, winding up wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice by the opportunities created as they were adopted and deployed.

Posted at January 9, 2021 20:21