The Great Hack Wasn't A Hack And Big Tech's Problems Aren't Really About Big Tech

from the symptoms-not-the-disease dept

There must be some irony in the fact that the well-hyped documentary film about Cambridge Analytica/Facebook, called The Great Hack was released by Netflix -- a company who really is kinda famous for trying to suck up as much data as possible to build a better algorithm to keep you using its service more -- and potentially violating people's privacy in the process. I know it's ancient history in terms of internet years, and everyone has decided that Facebook and Google are the root of all internet/data evils, but back in 2006, Netflix launched a contest, offering $1 million to anyone who could "improve" its recommendation algorithm over a certain threshold. It took a few years, but the company awarded the $1 million to a team that improved its algorithm -- though, it never actually implemented that algorithm, claiming that the benefits "did not seem to justify the engineering effort."

But, perhaps more interesting, was that while the contest was ongoing, some computer scientists de-anonymized the dataset that Netflix had released, leading some to point out that the whole project almost certainly violated the law. Eventually, Netflix shuttered its plans for a follow up contest as part of a legal settlement regarding the privacy violations of the original.

So, perhaps feel a bit conflicted when Netflix's vaunted algorithm recommends "The Great Hack" for you to watch.

This is not to say the documentary is not important, but it does highlight our troubling desire to immediately point fingers and describe certain things as "evil." Even the name -- The Great Hack -- is ridiculously misleading. Nothing Cambridge Analytica did involved a "hack" in the way most people think of the word. Yes, you could argue that it was a "hack" of the larger system -- using Facebook's platform in a way that was not intended, but easily done, but it didn't involve any technical proficiency. Just a willingness to use the data that way.

But, it's interesting to me to see the press rush in to use the documentary as the exclamation point to the narrative that's become popular these days: that Silicon Valley is too obsessed with collecting data as a business model. Janus Rose, at Vice, has a big piece that describes the movie as a condemnation of "surveillance capitalism."

The real “great hack” isn’t Cambridge’s ill-gotten data or Facebook’s failure to protect it. It’s the entire business model of Silicon Valley, which has incentivized the use of personal data to manipulate human behavior on a massive scale.

Emily Dreyfuss at Wired, paints a similar portrait:

In that way, The Great Hack is a modern horror story. The villain is Cambridge Analytica, yes, but also Facebook, and all the systems that let people become manipulated by the digital psychological clues they leave through their lives. It's terrifying because it's true.

Natasha Lomas at TechCrunch, points out that Netflix is revealing "the defining story of our time" in the transactional nature of data on social platforms:

But in displaying the ruthlessly transactional underpinnings of social platforms where the world’s smartphone users go to kill time, unwittingly trading away their agency in the process, Netflix has really just begun to open up the defining story of our time.

Oddly, none of them mention Netflix's algorithm and history. Ah, right. Because the narrative these days is Facebook/Google/Silicon Valley. Netflix has mostly migrated south to Hollywood. And, Hollywood and the media industry have no history at all of "manipulating" the public. Nope, no history of that at all.

None of this is to absolve Silicon Valley and the big tech companies -- who really have done a piss poor job of thinking through the consequences of basically anything they've done, but forgive me for being marginally skeptical when the same industries that have a long history of pushing propaganda and trying to manipulate audiences in one direction or another suddenly start clutching pearls at the new kids on the block.

And if you want to point fingers, there are lots of directions they could go as well. All the internet haters seem to have glommed onto Shosana Zuboff's term "Surveillance Capitalism" as a sort of shibboleth to the savvy to show that you know (you know) those internet companies are truly evil in their hearts. But taken to its logical extreme, one might as well blame Wall Street. When you have a company, say, like Pinterest, that tries to avoid social media "growth hacking" then Wall St. punishes it. Witness the ongoing freakout through the past few months from Wall St. as it grapples with Alphabet/Google's revenue growth slowing.

If companies are constantly being told that they have a "fiduciary duty" to increase the stock, and Wall Street flips out any time they can't keep growing at insane, unsustainable rates, is it any wonder that all of the incentives lead us to a place where companies focus heavily on growth?

Again, this is not an excuse. It's all a problem. But we don't solve large societal problems by picking off one symptom of the disease that's really just a link in a larger societal chain. Surveillance capitalism is a symptom. Abusive data practices are a symptom. Propaganda and political grandstanding are symptoms. There are big societal problems at the root of all this -- but very few seem to be interested in exploring what they are and how to deal with them. Instead, we just get one part of the surveillance capitalist propaganda machine to convince everyone that another part of the surveillance capitalist propaganda machine is the problem. And, because that bit of propaganda is successfully manipulative and compelling, lots of people buy into it.

The narrative is here and it won't be changed.

Now, what does Netflix recommend we watch next?

Filed Under: algorithms, data, growth, influence, innovation, privacy, recommendations, surveillance capitalism, the great hack, wall st.
Companies: facebook, google, netflix


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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 30 Jul 2019 @ 8:19am

    Root causes

    "Again, this is not an excuse. It's all a problem. But we don't solve large societal problems by picking off one symptom of the disease that's really just a link in a larger societal chain. Surveillance capitalism is a symptom. Abusive data practices are a symptom. Propaganda and political grandstanding are symptoms. There are big societal problems at the root of all this -- but very few seem to be interested in exploring what they are and how to deal with them. Instead, we just get one part of the surveillance capitalist propaganda machine to convince everyone that another part of the surveillance capitalist propaganda machine is the problem. And, because that bit of propaganda is successfully manipulative and compelling, lots of people buy into it."

    This collection of symptoms point to the underlying base, Humans (and greed). None of those symptoms would exist without either humans or greed. If we eliminate either of those, the problem would cease to exist.

    Now I am not suggesting that human kind kill itself off, and I don't see any readily available cure for greed, but there is a certain remedial effect in recognizing the causes of symptoms, especially when the disease is psychological (the greed part). Acceptance that one is impacted is a major step to crossing the river of denial.

    Of course the greed part will be minimized by many as an existential part of capitalism, but I don't think that is actually true. Turning profit, and turning egregious profit are not one in the same. Wall Street with its:

    "...flips out any time they can't keep growing at insane, unsustainable rates..."

    seems to think egregious is a minimal step toward their expectations and desires.

    Getting the world to agree on some form of control for the 'Wall Streets' of the world does not seem like a credible goal as greed and power tend to go hand in hand and, those in power want to keep it (power), and their greed (greed, of course, is not expressed monetarily in all instances) in perfect running order. Yet there it is, and a possible cog in the solution set necessary to resolve the issue.

    Or is it problem? That might depend upon perspective, but there are probably more of us than them, even if they are, for now, in control.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2019 @ 9:48am

    This whole article is a giant whataboutism.

    What was your real point, Mike? That Netflix is just as evil as all the tech giants? That PII collection is pervasive and there is nothing we can do about it? Something else?

    We're all aware of the data collection on a ridiculous scale and all the bad that can (and has) come of it. But I don't read anything here that is an argument for anything, just finger pointing despite Netflix not being in the news for any kind of data exposure recently.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 30 Jul 2019 @ 9:54am

      Re:

      What was your real point, Mike? That Netflix is just as evil as all the tech giants? That PII collection is pervasive and there is nothing we can do about it? Something else?

      Hmm. I thought I was clear: we're treating the symptoms not the disease, and almost all of the proposed solutions just focus on symptom treatment (often in ways that make the disease worse). Also, related to that, much of the fear mongering and finger pointing is misguided to misleading.

      The solution -- which we've talked about over and over again is to take a step back, and move the internet more to its original core of a more distributed system, with greater control at the ends, rather than the center of the network. But no one wants to talk about that because it's more fun to attack.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2019 @ 11:08am

        Re: Re:

        None of the major players on the Internet today want to talk about moving the Internet back closer to its original core as a distributed system either. This is because it would mean a large amount of money and power would be lost.

        Apparently they don't want to talk publicly, at least.

        In this article, you say that you had conversations with four large Internet companies about distributed systems:

        In the last six months, I've had in-depth conversations with four large internet companies about this approach, and they were surprisingly more open to at least considering what it would mean than I initially expected. And while I may go into more detail in later posts

        I would love to know which companies you talked to, and would love to see you finally "go into more detail" in some "later posts".

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2019 @ 11:10am

        Re: Re:

        The solution -- which we've talked about over and over again is to take a step back, and move the internet more to its original core of a more distributed system, with greater control at the ends, rather than the center of the network.

        The fastest and most effective way to accomplish that is to literally burn Facebook and the other mega-corporations to the ground, so competing projects will have a chance to emerge without being bought off or crushed. While it's true that the internet might have started out highly decentralized, what we're seeing today is closer to the final evolution of the internet, with a few big monopolies that almost completely dominate the landscape, have decided not to directly compete with each other, and perhaps worst of all, appear to collude with each other to shut down emerging competition.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2019 @ 3:48pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The fastest and most effective way to accomplish that is to literally burn Facebook and the other mega-corporations to the ground, so competing projects will have a chance to emerge without being bought off or crushed.

          So you burn it all down, and salt the fields, and stand back and admire the wasteland that you created.

          Destroying something is easy, building a replacement is much more difficult, especially if those who could maybe do so have just watched the destruction you have wrought and decide not to risk the same fate.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2019 @ 9:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Discouraging future surveillance capitalists from attempting to control the internet is kind of the point.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 31 Jul 2019 @ 1:11am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Destroy everything and hope that a better Internet emerges is hardly a sound plan. Indeed it looks like what the content industry wants no Internet, just a delivery services big corporations.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            urza9814, 31 Jul 2019 @ 6:51am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            That's the thing though...the replacements have already been built. There's about a dozen of them out there at least. The problem is that nobody will use them. Even Google couldn't figure out how to convince people to move away from Facebook. So burning it down to make room for others to grow certainly isn't the worst idea in the world...

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 1 Aug 2019 @ 3:28am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Google had an abysmal failure with their Google+, you mean? That's very true.

              Now, how about building a social network that actually can stand on its own for its merits, with some innovative features that could address the demand of potential users, instead of shoving it down their throat with a fucking scammy pop-up, as Google did when "implementing" Google+ to the YouTube userbase?

              How about not pissing off the millions of users of YouTube, and even one of the creators of the original YouTube itself: "Why the fuck do I need a Google+ account to comment on a video?" (Jawed Karim)

              And, how about not deleting old comments when being forced to switch to Google+? I'm sure some people have noticed that in many older videos there are crippled comment sequences now because all the older comments by some accounts have magically disappeared from existence, after switching to Google+. Was this a deliberate strategy by Google, or a major fuck-up? Who knows... Not to mention the other major problem that affects YouTube comments today, that is, ghosting.

              You know, at least with Facebook if I feel nostalgic I can go back in time to check my account activity, even the remote one from many years ago, as it's still there. Not so with Google.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2019 @ 11:17am

        Re: Re:

        The solution -- which we've talked about over and over again is to take a step back, and move the internet more to its original core of a more distributed system, with greater control at the ends, rather than the center of the network.

        While it's true that the internet might have started out highly decentralized, what we're seeing today is closer to the final evolution of the internet, with a few big monopolies that almost completely dominate the landscape, have decided not to directly compete with each other, and perhaps worst of all, appear to collude with each other to shut down emerging competition.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 30 Jul 2019 @ 1:09pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          the final evolution of the internet

          Ah, the end of history.

          Come on. The idea is that this is the final evolution of the internet is both ahistorical and silly.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2019 @ 2:20pm

            Re: quotemining and strawmanning

            One could argue whether the current internet ecosystem is closer to that of an emerging field or a mature industry, but to deny that any such evolutionary life cycle exists, particularly regarding industry consolidation, is to ignore the huge body of accumulated evidence on this subject.

            https://hbr.org/2002/12/the-consolidation-curve

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              nae such, 2 Aug 2019 @ 11:18am

              Re: Re: quotemining and strawmanning

              i suspect what you're missing here is the 'final' evolution, like the end of history, is not ever really likely to be achieved. the internet's evolution will continue on as will history for some time to come.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Chris ODonnell (profile), 30 Jul 2019 @ 10:08am

    "But no one wants to talk about that because it's more fun to attack."

    As soon as somebody figures out to build a trillion-dollar company build on decentralized data and giving end users all the control we will start talking about it, a lot. Which goes back to the point made in comment 1 about greed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Chris ODonnell (profile), 30 Jul 2019 @ 10:10am

    Also, Cambridge Analytica used Facebook's data exactly as intended - to better target messaging at Facebook users.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    urza9814, 30 Jul 2019 @ 10:24am

    It's "Surveillance CAPITALISM"

    "All the internet haters seem to have glommed onto Shosana Zuboff's term 'Surveillance Capitalism' as a sort of shibboleth to the savvy to show that you know (you know) those internet companies are truly evil in their hearts. But taken to its logical extreme, one might as well blame Wall Street."

    Well, yeah, that's why it's surveillance capitalism rather than surveillance tech. It's all about the profit motive. That's neither a negation ("But...") nor an "extreme" as far as I can tell; it's just a definition of the term...

    As long as companies are willing to dump money into these technologies, it's not going to stop. As long as such companies are profitable (and often even when they aren't), VCs are going to pump money into them.

    Now, we can try to regulate that away...but that probably requires some high level of public outrage. Which these kinds of movies might help create, although if the people being outraged don't fully understand the problem, and the legislators aren't understanding the problem (often willfully), then that's still not going to help much. And of course, the companies profiting from this kind of abuse use the profits to hire lobbyists...I don't expect that avenue to yield much success unless the whole damn system gets reformed.

    So the other option is to go after the profits directly. Lawsuits might help, although that goes along with the regulatory aspect, probably not going to be enough by itself. Convincing people to stop buying this crap would be the other option, but how do you do that when most people don't know and don't WANT to know how any of it actually works? When everyone USES FACEBOOK to discuss how upset they are with the Cambridge Analytica stuff?

    Sometimes I fear we might just be too late. People are too accustomed to using computers without thinking, without reading, without researching...hell, I literally can't get SOFTWARE ENGINEERS that I work with to read THREE FREAKIN' LINES of output from a program. If it doesn't do exactly what they expect with a single click, they tell you it's broken. They don't care how it works, they don't care what else it does, all that matters is the instant gratification.

    Of course, sometimes I also think the problem is just a matter of advertising. We've got the technology, we could drop Facebook for distributed social network platforms tonight if a sufficient number of people could be convinced to do so. But years of advocacy doesn't seem to be doing much. Scandal after scandal after scandal convinces approximately zero people to make the switch. So now what...?

    I feel like people are going around and around and around discussing minor nuances of what the "real problem" is...but nobody's got a solution...and neither do I. At this point I'm just trying to keep my own network safe from this garbage, and that alone occupies a significant majority of my free time...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2019 @ 10:44am

    So all we have to do is solve human greed and shortsightedness? Well gosh it's so simple, there's no reason to attempt to mitigate the amplification effect that technology has on human fallibility when it's just so easy to eliminate the underlying fallibility in the first place! Our ancestors must have been pretty dumb not to have taken care of this hundreds of years ago -- it's so simple, you know? Why take NyQuil, when you could be trying to cure the common cold instead?

    I mean, it can't be that Mike has some reason to deflect any sort of effective remedy for the harms caused by specific, nameable tech giants, by insisting that we solve the unsolvable before we try to ameliorate the increased damage their technologies have abetted... could it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Gary (profile), 30 Jul 2019 @ 11:19am

      Re:

      I mean, it can't be that Mike has some reason to deflect any sort of effective remedy for the harms caused by specific, nameable tech giants, by insisting that we solve the unsolvable before we try to ameliorate the increased damage their technologies have abetted... could it?

      Take the tinfoil off your head and spit it out - cry Google and get over it.

      I'm looking forward to seeing your well written article where you tell us the real solution. Please link to your blog so we can read it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2019 @ 11:48am

      Re:

      The structure of your comment leads me to believe that you are the same person who wrote this flagged comment here.

      I will say what I said in reply to that comment then: I agree with the general sentiment of your comment, which criticizes Mike for asking people to solve the unsolvable "big societal problems" as if he wants us to forget about doing anything about big tech. But your implications, again, are likely that Mike wants to see these companies grow ever richer and ever larger, like he's in cahoots with Google or whoever.

      Really, from what I've seen, Mike espouses a particularly ludicrous brand of techno-utopianism that requires he give infinite benefit of the doubt to companies with malicious and greedy patterns of behavior. Mike's ideology means he can never bring himself to say that these companies and the folks that call the shots at them are greedy or malicious, so he consigns euphemisms to their greedy and malicious actions, such as that they're just "doing a bad job" or that they simply don't think through the consequences of their actions.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mike Masnick (profile), 30 Jul 2019 @ 1:07pm

        Re: Re:

        I agree with the general sentiment of your comment, which criticizes Mike for asking people to solve the unsolvable "big societal problems" as if he wants us to forget about doing anything about big tech.

        But I don't want people to "forget about doing anything about big tech." I want them to do stuff THAT ACTUALLY HELPS, not stuff that locks in those giants as permanent dominant fixtures.

        Unfortunately, nearly all of the solutions proposed do that. They make the problem worse. Much worse. But they're deemed to be good because they "punish" big tech, while really locking them in.

        Really, from what I've seen, Mike espouses a particularly ludicrous brand of techno-utopianism that requires he give infinite benefit of the doubt to companies with malicious and greedy patterns of behavior.

        Then you have a reading comprehension problem.

        Mike's ideology means he can never bring himself to say that these companies and the folks that call the shots at them are greedy or malicious, so he consigns euphemisms to their greedy and malicious actions, such as that they're just "doing a bad job" or that they simply don't think through the consequences of their actions.

        Dehumanizing people you disagree with is a nice strategy. It's dumb and won't solve any real problems, but you do you. On the other hand, since I know lots of people who DO seriously struggle with these challenges -- and you're telling me that they're all non-existent or lying... well, I'm going to accept reality and leave you off making up fantasy stories.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2019 @ 2:08pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Dehumanizing people you disagree with is a nice strategy.

          Pot, meet kettle.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Mike Masnick (profile), 30 Jul 2019 @ 2:57pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Where have I dehumanized people I disagree with?

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2019 @ 4:25pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              If the post you were whining about qualifies as "dehumanizing you", you did pretty much exactly the same thing right at the end of your response to that post.. and you do it constantly to shut down anyone who disagrees with your Googley world view.

              Your lack of self awareness is astounding.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2019 @ 3:26pm

            Re: Squeaky nail gets the hammer

            Let me guess. You heard that somewhere and thought it would make you sound clever if you dropped it into a conversation somewhere, despite not understanding what it mean.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2019 @ 5:42pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Quit your tone-policing. Calling people "greedy" or "malicious" isn't "dehumanizing" them. It's me ascribing qualities to them based on their repeated patterns of behavior which have placed profit and further consolidation of power before almost everything else.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2019 @ 11:06am

    None of this is to absolve Silicon Valley and the big tech companies

    You constantly absolve Silicon Valley and the big tech companies. You do it by saying shit like this:

    -- who really have done a piss poor job of thinking through the consequences of basically anything they've done

    Repeatedly insisting that they're just doing a bad job and never think things through all the way, as if they'd stop fucking people over and lying for profit if they just took some time to mull over their decisions more thoroughly.

    The truth is that these companies and the people working at them don't give a shit about the consequences as long as it makes them money and no amount of time spent thinking it over would make them change their minds.

    Let's look at Facebook. Facebook's Friendly Fraud should've been the last straw for anybody trusting them. But according to you, countless employees turning a blind eye to shit like this for years because it makes more money for Facebook is just them doing a "piss poor job", "a really, really awful job", like they're a bratty kid that'll learn their lesson eventually if we just keep pointing out when they do a "bad job".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 30 Jul 2019 @ 11:38am

      Re:

      The truth is that these companies and the people working at them don't give a shit about the consequences as long as it makes them money and no amount of time spent thinking it over would make them change their minds.

      This is quite a statement -- and one that is simply blatantly false. It's nice how you demonize everyone at these companies, but as someone who has actually spoken with many people at them, I know for a fact that this characterization is false.

      Indeed, part of the point above was that these companies are struggling with these questions, but every time they TRY to take a proactive approach in dealing with them, Wall St. smacks them down.

      But, sure, let's just say that everyone who works there are greedy fucks. Because, boy, that sure is easy.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2019 @ 12:15pm

        Re: Re:

        Facebook sent out a motherfucking internal memo to its employees about how it's fine to defraud kids and their parents. Keeping something like that secret for years takes a whole lot of people up and down the corporate ladder willing to keep their mouths shut. Please tell me how shit like this shows they're "struggling with these questions"; Facebook's refusal to utilize their internal team's efforts to keep kids from buying stuff with real money because it actually proved effective in keeping that money out of Facebook's hands is quite damning.

        You keep wanting to depict these companies as if they're tragic figures grappling with moral quandaries but everything that they say, do, or gets leaked says that they're all greedy fucks or cowards who know that they work with greedy fucks but keep their mouths shut because the pay's good.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2019 @ 2:11pm

        Re: Re:

        every time they TRY to take a proactive approach in dealing with them, Wall St. smacks them down.

        ...

        But, sure, let's just say that everyone who works there are greedy fucks.

        If they weren't greedy fucks, maybe they wouldn't be so worried about being "smacked down" by Wall Street.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 30 Jul 2019 @ 12:12pm

    A few things…

    I know Janus Rose. I wouldn't be a chip musician if I didn't see her play a game boy with an LSDJ cartridge live and want to do the same thing. I owe her plenty for my current choice of career.

    So that makes Sebastian Tomczak (LittleScale, a.k.a. the guy people on TechDirt know as the guy who got flagged on youtube for having similar sounding noise to someone else), Bryce Case (YTCracker, a.k.a. Grindr's security chief and a legendary hacker), and now Janus Rose (Zen Albatross, as per this article) as people I know in my musical life who made it onto TechDirt. Geez, Mike, I appreciate the attention, but come on! ;-) :-P

    Third,

    And if you want to point fingers, there are lots of directions they could go as well. All the internet haters seem to have glommed onto Shosana Zuboff's term "Surveillance Capitalism" as a sort of shibboleth to the savvy to show that you know (you know) those internet companies are truly evil in their hearts. But taken to its logical extreme, one might as well blame Wall Street.

    You're acting as if people don't do this already. Wall Street is often blamed as the root problem more so than the tech companies themselves.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Darkness Of Course (profile), 30 Jul 2019 @ 12:53pm

    moar data from ur bases

    "Now, what does Netflix recommend we watch next?"

    Not enough data, try again later.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jul 2019 @ 2:27pm

    All the internet haters

    It's easy to tell when something has struck a nerve with you, because you come off like a 5 year old whining about the mean kids picking on poor little Google.

    Have you considered the possibility that the people you call "internet haters" are actually people who love the internet, but hate the fact that a few massive corporations have essentially taken full control of it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Thad (profile), 31 Jul 2019 @ 8:24am

    "Hack" has lost all meaning at this point. Based on usage, it appears to mean "bad thing involving a computer" now.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ojai_guy, 31 Jul 2019 @ 8:52am

    Greed

    I would recommend a series made in 1977 by the economist John Kenneth Galbraith entitled 'The Age of Uncertainty'. This ivy league professor's series deals with historys record on culture, politics, economic and its relationship with self-interest(greed). Self interest can be packaged in almost infinite parcels, packed with the various complexities dictated by our religious, economic, political, social etc.,etc.... experiences in life. The variations of this mix is astronomical and may never be able to be effectively managed. Case in point, all the comments made on this subject smack of self-interest on the writers part

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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