Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Two contemporary views on the role of technology


From TechCrunch

Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.

And from a hitherto unknown tribe deep in the Amazon rainforest.

Technological advances must not “determine our destiny.”

Oh Im sorry, that is not a primitive tribesman but Hillary Clinton, a candidate for the leadership position of the most powerful and technologically advanced country in the world! I get those two confused all the time! My mistake.


6 comments:

  1. Somehow, the comments on the first article mostly dissent from the author's view. Here is one:

    "That's some stinky BS. Internet Marketing is simply reducing the cost of marketing, sales and advertising and making the traditional forms of media advertising obsolete . It is a revolution which will (or already has) put the traditional, television, music and print media and advertising power structures out of business before they are able to react. In ten years they will be no more relevant than the phone company. Their former power will be in the hands of a relatively small number of technological oligarchs competing (or colluding) to deliver data the fastest (or restrict speed). The "interface" is nothing more than the gaping hole where the traditional media used to be. Uber , alibaba etc. are relatively small players. Google is just a microcosmic version of Madison avenue, Facebook, Twitter etc is just a microcosmic version of NBC, ABC CBS, etc with greatly reduced in power and prestige. They don't and never will have assets combarable to Coca Cola, Proctor and Gamble, Nabisco, GE, etc. The "dumb data pipelines" whether they be controlled by the government or private equity are the real power structures, in the future they could become more powerful than oil companies

    Carlos Slim didn't become the richest man in the world for nothing"

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    Replies
    1. This guy is all over the place and often contradicting himself. He says IM will make traditional forms of media adverstising (TV) obsolete and then taunts Facebook and Twitter as microcosmic(?) versions of NBC, ABC...

      All these free to air TV stations get their revenue from advertising only. Channels like AMC, HBO are another matter.

      The real power of these traditional outlets is not their assets which can quickly become liabilities in a downmarket but their enduring access and appeal to powerful legacy politicians such as Hilary Clinton who are technologically out of touch and hang on to these models perhaps out of plain nostalgia and familiarity!

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    2. I forgot to mention, in the National Review takedown of Hilary Clinton outmoded mindset , the main point the author wished to hammer home was that Hilary Clinton was firmly in the pocket of unions and associations such as taxi drivers and hoteliers who don't wish for free market competition which would imperil their own revenue streams.

      The dissenters sound almost like shills for unions and entrenched corporate oligarchies - in this case both working in tandem against this more consumer friendly "menace"!

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    3. "This guy is all over the place and often contradicting himself. He says IM will make traditional forms of media adverstising (TV) obsolete and then taunts Facebook and Twitter as microcosmic(?) versions of NBC, ABC..."

      Perhaps he means that while Facebook and Twitter are 'microcosmic' in terms of hosting content, while they will beat the traditional TV channels in advertisement. So channels that mostly rely on advertisement for revenue might suffer, while channels that host paid content like AMC, HBO will dominate in the future (not necessarily these specific channels).

      BTW I agree with the view that taxi and hotel unions are a menace especially in developed countries. However, this view: "Their former power will be in the hands of a relatively small number of technological oligarchs competing (or colluding) to deliver data the fastest (or restrict speed)." might be prescient. In that case, at least some basic regulations from the govt are in order. Especially considering the recent case in Delhi were an Uber driver raped his passenger. Not that normal cab services are any better, but a quality service like Uber cannot exist without regulations. I believe this is Clinton's agenda rather than colluding with outmoded services.

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    4. To be sure, the IP and telecom sector in U.S is a monopoly and collusion of sorts and needs the anti trust treatment. It is much easier and cheaper to get a cell phone or internet connection in India than it is U.S. India and other developing countries also offer more flexible options.
      I remember when I bought my first cell phone in 2000 (it was the size of a large landline cordless phone LOL) , I had to sign a 2 year contract with Verizon!
      My sister still endures the same and even worse nonsense. Almost a decade ago I bought her a PDA of a now obscure brand(iMate) and she was able to avail of free wifi in coffee shops but was unable to do so when she got an iPhone as AT&T and Apple collude to screw the customer even out of free wifi. In order for her to enjoy this "free" wifi on the iPhone she had to pay 60cents or something similar due to AT&T charges for god knows what. iMate brand wasn't recognized by the carrier so she got away without paying anything for free wifi(how dare she!). The problem is not so much that those in FCC are political appointees but the appointer himself shows little interest in reforming the telecom sector since Reagan's break up of AT&T
      http://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/serials/files/regulation/1988/10/reg12n3-crandall.html

      But now AT&T and its wicked step sister Verizon are back to their same old tricks.

      Actually I believe that Uber AirBnB etc are not suitable for developing countries as due to lack of proper screening technologies due to poor law enforcement infrastructure, there is a potential for such crimes to occur.
      Also with AirBnB there are legitimate questions about quality of life issues for neighbors don't wish to live next to a house with strangers coming in and out and zoning laws.

      Hillary Clinton once defended a child rapist and laughed about it.

      http://dailycaller.com/2014/07/08/hillary-clinton-refuses-to-apologize-for-laughing-about-12-year-old-rape-victim-she-maligned-in-court

      Not to mention her hands on involvement in the character assassination of all the women her husband groped.

      I doubt very much that she is too concerned about rape victims in India or elsewhere.

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    5. Developing countries have lesser monopolies and more diversity. This video makes an interesting comparison between nature and economics:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWVATekt4ZA

      It seems that since poor regions have less resources, the competitors diversify and monopolies are avoided. Although one would rather live in a monopolized and rich country than a diverse and poor country!

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