Tag: google

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Lessons unlearned, opportunities missed by JAMA, ESPN, and Google It was quite a week for cancel culture, which claimed three trophies from three separate American institutions: Medicine, Sports Broadcasting (gambling, specifically), and Big Tech. The latest trophies on Cancel Culture’s expanding wall include Dr. Howard Bauchner, the 11-year editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American […]

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Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) joined host Ben Domenech to discuss the danger of big tech censorship for the American public. Rep. Buck’s new book, “Capitol Freedom: Restoring American Greatness,” is out now.

Many Republicans argue all private companies ought to remain unfettered by government intervention, but Buck argues that big tech companies such as Google don’t use the extreme level of power they wield over free speech fairly. He debunked the idea that there’s no relationship between privacy and size, saying that if these companies didn’t have a monopoly on free speech, they couldn’t get away with their actions.

Anders Hagstrom returns to the show to discuss the Big Tech menace (?), the Tik Tok menace (!), and the pleasures of video games (?!?).

Federal Communications Commission Commissioner Brendan Carr joined host Ben Domenech to discuss Google’s recent attempt to censor The Federalist and potential reform to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, under which big tech companies operate.

Carr favors Section 230 Reform after seeing the lack of accountability regarding recent events. Google’s actions, he argued, go beyond their right to free speech and demand public accountability to their public representation. While some think that big tech companies have a right to do what they want as a private company, Carr explains that Section 230 actually gives them advantages over other types of companies.

There is an in-depth discussion this week covering three issues that broke just this week

First, the guys talk about the SCOTUS Bostock decision regarding Title VII of The Civil Rights Act, Neil Gorsuch’s majority opinion, and whether or not it was the court writing legislation instead of interpreting the law.

Join Jim and Greg as they cheer Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley for calling out the Supreme Court’s recent judicial activism but also for upbraiding legislators for being too fearful to take up difficult issues and leaving them to the courts to resolve. They also slam NBC for attempting to get Google to deplatform The Federalist and Zero Hedge – largely based on objectionable content in the comments section.  And they discuss NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell suddenly encouraging teams to sign Colin Kaepernick.

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A not-quite rebuttal to Susan’s post on the perils of contact tracing (when performed by government employees over the phone)… As I previously mentioned on R>, I’ve been intrigued by the Distributed Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (DP-3T) protocol as a voluntary way of notifying individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19 without revealing how that […]

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Early in the Duration (h/t @jameslileks, for the umpteenth time since 2007-ish when I started reading lileks.com), I read that Apple and Google were collaborating on an API for anonymous Bluetooth-based contact tracing technology. Any collaboration between AAPL and GOOGL, whose iOS and Android platforms dominate the mobile phone space, is rare enough that I […]

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In the latest episode, the Young Americans get super nerdy, with the help of real-life tech policy researcher Caleb Watney of the R Street Institute. He and Jack discuss the virtues of free markets vs. Millennial skepticism thereof, question the emerging conventional wisdom on tech addiction and Silicon Valley, rebut the Unabomber (!), and go full nerd with semi-related digressions about Blade RunnerThe Matrix, and, of course, Dune.

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We just finished our two-hour daily news and commentary show at AmericasVoice.Live and did 2 segments on the Project Veritas piece that Google is blacklisting and blocking conservative websites including Ricochet.com. Google whistleblower Zachary Vorhies is interviewed by PV in segment 1 and I interview MRCTV’s Dan Gainor in segment 2. Seg. 1 (GO TO […]

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I won’t condense all the great comments and musings on other threads about how Trump will be blamed for the violence, whether he started an endless trade war etc. But both have been cited as “able to loose conservatives the election.” My take: Both issues pre-date Trump but are irresistible for critics to tie to […]

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How the Nerds Took Revenge

 

We were all once nerds, or cool kids, jocks, bullies, dorks, AV cart-pushers, theater geeks, motorheads, preppies, break dancers, valley girls, wastoids, heshers, skaters, surfers, outcasts, and teacher’s pets. Microchip technology was nascent as we learned the term “hacker” from Matthew Broderick changing his grades via modem, while Anthony Michael Hall demonstrated how hyperactive geeks could end up with the Homecoming Queen.

We delighted in watching nerds take revenge. After all, those narcissistic jocks deserved it, which became an oft-repeated trope in many films of the 1980s. The smartest, but most socially awkward would exact vengeance on anyone who previously shunned them, both men and women. While comedic in tone and extremely satisfying to watch at the time, there’s no doubt that said retribution has since morphed into something darker; the entitled psyche of yesterday’s and today’s disenfranchised.

Many eggheads of our youth now run the world’s most valuable technology platforms. With great power came their real-life payback to manipulate people and greater society. As we debate whether the centralized platforms need to be broken up as the FAANGs openly admit to controlling free speech for political purposes, (see Google’s Plan to Prevent “Trump situation” in 2020), quietly they have been steadily using their clout and muscle to turn us all, including their own colleagues, into chattel. Not to suggest every executive in Silicon Valley behaves this way, but many do. With more wealth than most people can earn in ten lifetimes, the enlightened ones turn coworkers into prostitutes by attending tech orgies; a gateway for those who want to advance their careers. The titans of Silicon Valley, well-known people, use sex for sport all while publicly advocating #MeToo and other woke platitudes to an enabling media salivating at any opportunity to interview tech icons.

Utterly Absurd

 

In 1914, in his novel The World Set Free, H.G. Wells wrote of a future featuring “atomic bombs,” in which “it was a matter of common knowledge that a man could carry about in a handbag an amount of latent energy sufficient to wreck half a city.” That was thirty-one years before Trinity — before the detonation of the first atomic weapon in the sands of southern New Mexico.

Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel Fahrentheit 451, written in 1953, described ear-buds, those ubiquitous little earphones everyone wears today. He called them “seashells,” but we’d recognize them today — as we would the insular cocoon they created for the perpetually distracted wife of that novel’s protagonist.

Washington’s War on Big Tech: Must There Be a Google?

 

If Washington’s War on Google has begun, when will it end? The Justice Department is apparently gearing up an investigation of the internet giant. And for what reason exactly? That’s unclear. But one 2012 Federal Trade Commission analysis might give us a hint. It described Google as “engaging in tactics that resulted in harm to many vertical competitors, and likely helped to entrench Google’s monopoly power over search and search advertising.”

Overseas, the European Commission has thrice fined Google for business practices deemed uncompetitive. The most recent came last March when regulators hit the company with a nearly $2 billion fine for past “abusive practices.” The EC said Google “abused its market dominance by imposing a number of restrictive clauses in contracts with third-party websites which prevented Google’s rivals from placing their search adverts on these websites.”

But hefty fines and, say, better ad placement for Yelp and TripAdvisor, may hardly be punitive or radical enough given the dramatic complaints of some activists and policymakers. Alphabet-Google, tweeted Sen. Elizabeth Warren, “has too much power, and they’re using that power to hurt small businesses, stifle innovation, and tilt the playing field against everyone else.” (At minimum, she would “unwind” past Google acquisitions of DoubleClick, Nest, and Waze. Others would split off YouTube. On the right, nationalist populist leader Steve Bannon sees nationalization, at least partial, as a possible answer. Other activists would go further.)

Should We Tax Facebook and Google So They Change Their Business Models?

 

Paul Romer.

Is Big Tech today as dangerous as Big Money a decade ago? Economist and Nobel laureate Paul Romer seems to think there are disturbing similarities. In a New York Times op-ed, Romer advocates taxing revenue from the sales of targeted digital ads to check the size and power of “dominate digital platforms,” specifically Facebook and Google. “Our digital platforms may not be too big to fail,” he writes. “But they are too big to trust.” Romer’s policy goal is to nudge these companies away from the original sin of advertising-driven business models, and Romer sees a Pigovian tax as a more efficient way to reduce their size and influence than antitrust or regulation. He doesn’t like targeted ads, nor the financial power they generate.

Romer’s approach toward Big Tech might sound familiar to anyone who followed the post-Financial Crisis debate about Wall Street and “too big to fail.” Among the policy options for taming the megabanks and de-risking their business models were regulation, antitrust, or higher capital requirements. That last one, advocates argued, was the most efficient and market-friendly way of making failure less likely, potentially serving as a de facto tax on bigness, or even spurring a self-initiated breakup.

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Google’s presentation of its impressive new game streaming service began with images of boardgames, arenas, sports stadiums, and concert halls to show how entertainment has provided a social glue throughout history to bring people of different backgrounds and beliefs together in joy. Hence the name, Stadia.  “Create + Scale + Connect” are the three goals […]

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The Microsoft Myth: We Shouldn’t Assume More Antitrust Will Give Us More Tech Innovation

 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren argues that if Washington breaks up Big Tech — and more aggressively reviews acquisitions going forward — the result will be more competition and thus more innovation than would occur otherwise. Just look at history. As the Democratic presidential candidate explains in a blog post:

The government’s antitrust case against Microsoft helped clear a path for Internet companies like Google and Facebook to emerge. The story demonstrates why promoting competition is so important: it allows new, groundbreaking companies to grow and thrive  —  which pushes everyone in the marketplace to offer better products and services.

It’s a superficially compelling argument at times like this: Demographic challenges mean the American economy will need to become more innovative if it’s to grow anywhere near as fast in the future as it did in the past. From this perspective, Big Tech is now a big problem.

Elizabeth Warren’s Wrongheaded Plan to Break Up Big Tech

 

An encouraging result of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s mega-ambitious plan to break up Amazon, Alphabet-Google, and Facebook is her interview with The Washington Post tech reporter Cat Zakrzewski. At the end of the Q&A, Zakrzewski asked the Democratic 2020 contender, “How do you avoid unintended consequences on innovation if you break the companies up?” To which Warren replied, “I think what we have right now is the unintended consequence. The giants are destroying competition in one area after another.”

This is good. Warren allows for unintended consequences when implementing public policy. Little of the activist feverishness about a Big Tech breakup has acknowledged their existence or that of trade-offs. More should be expected of policymakers. Conceding the reality of both provides a starting point for debate. That said, Warren seems oblivious to the potential unintended consequences or trade-offs of her proposal.

For instance: Amazon — with a five percent market share of US retail overall — does exactly what many buyback-hating Democrats have been insisting the rest of Corporate America do more of: invest bigly. Amazon is a massive R&D spender. Would it spend nearly as much if it had to shutdown as much as half its business, as Warren’s plan seems to suggest? Aren’t the very companies she wants to break up also America’s innovation leaders, spending not just to better their current businesses but also on potential future businesses such as autonomous vehicles and space commerce? Might banning new Big Tech acquisitions reduce venture capital investment by denying an off-ramp to the early investors in promising, high-impact startups? By the way, a quick visit to Alphabet’s X research group might be a worthwhile campaign trip for Warren.