Posts Tagged ‘monopoly’

Silicon Valley: New Boss, Same As The Old Boss, But With More Power Over Our Lives

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

People are suckers for a revolution. If a revolution happens, in their minds it means that everything that went before was bad which by the converse principle, implies that everything “the people” were doing was good; the people were simply victims of the bad. It explains away their failures and omissions, and gives them license to seize whatever they could not have before.

And to think, people once doubted that we had origins among ancestors of the apes. We are just monkeys underneath the clothes, vocabulary, technology, social pretense and fancy theories. Monkeys are forgivable because they at least do not erect layers of deception around their raw self-interest and essentially venal, opportunistic mentality. Humans just bury it in justifications and rules.

Silicon Valley — this term can be used broadly to represent the technology revolution, especially its post-internet variety — promised a revolution. Old business was manipulative and inefficient, so they would do it better, they promised. And yet, twenty-five years into the process, we are seeing not better but slight improvement coupled with a more powerful version of the bad bosses of decades ago.

Let’s review some of the comedy along these lines from this week.

First, we have Google with some dubious “do as I say, not as I do” behavior regarding women in the workforce:

The DoL has accused Google of systematically underpaying women, and the court battle centers on the company’s refusal to hand over salary data the government has requested.

The motion for a dismissal – which a judge rejected, in part citing the first amendment – sheds light on Google’s aggressive efforts to end the case at a time when the tech industry is facing increasing criticisms over sexist workplace cultures, gender discrimination and widespread pay disparities. Critics said it appeared that Google was attempting to limit media scrutiny with unusual tactics that raise free press concerns and seem to contradict the corporation’s public claims that it is committed to transparency and accountability in its efforts to promote equal pay.

Google also attempted to restrict press access during a hearing last month. Following a private meeting with the judge about the Guardian’s reporting, Google’s attorney requested that the proceeding be closed to the media before continuing, but a DoL attorney objected and the judge sided with the government.

Not very promising, but probably nothing in comparison to Google’s position as editor and censor of what people see, hear and believe. Most internet searches — some say up to 90% worldwide — are run through Google.

When Google drops a site, it falls into a black hole where no one sees it unless they go looking for it, and since other sites are penalized for linking to it, that group gets smaller and smaller. How powerful is Google? A recent anecdote by hacker and nationalist Weev shows how Google pagerank is more important than trademark or even advertising dollars:

They trademarked the name “Weev”, which I have been using since I was 10 years old, built a social video app, and dozens of celebrities were given money and shares in the company in exchange for using the app.

…I would delay every troll operation I wanted to do until they were spending serious money and resources to try to dig themselves out of a pagerank hole. Whenever they would drop deep into the second page of Google results (where they might as well not even exist) they would try to do another press push and garner backlinks.

…In 2016, after three years of an entire team of people working fulltime, a few million dollars in funding wasted, dozens of physical events they threw in meatspace, and repeated humiliation at the hands of a single neo-Nazi blogger, the Weev app closed up shop forever.

This is what one man — albeit a creative and knowledgeable one — can do with an internet connection and a few thousand dollars. But what about Google, who can simply alter an algorithm, which is not made public, and drop whole sites from the internet? Or appoint a proxy like Wikipedia, who censors any right-wing information and crowds the top five search results on many topics?

If anyone else were doing it, we would recognize this as censorship by monopoly.

This leads to the question of what Google might be censoring. We know the company leans Left because their Google doodles tend to celebrate minor Left-wing figures in preference to major Right-wing ones, and the company’s public statements suggest a social justice mentality pervades the organization.

And now, we have some data on how Google is using its market power to quash conservatives:

The former Chairman and CEO of Fox News, Roger Ailes, has passed. He was arguably one of the most consequential individuals in media and politics in the last century, and he leaves behind a loving wife and son. He also leaves behind a cadre of loyal former employees who love and respect him.

But if you run a Google search on him, you’ll find that the top results consist almost entirely of articles from several liberal publications savaging his reputation as a person. The search results — both on mobile and desktop platforms — begin with entries that are strikingly cruel and meanspirited — and raise new questions about Google’s objectivity.

Why do companies lean Left? Right now, the Left is the dominant ideology; for the last century, the West has moved further and further Left to the point where a moderate view of fifty years ago would be considered “far right” now. The goalposts have moved, the Overton window shifted, and the Left has used this to marginalize conservative viewpoints.

It seems Google is doing the same thing. Not only that, but European governments are putting pressure on Google and other social media — Google’s PageRank rewards the popularity of links, not their content, so might be seen as early social media — to remove “hate speech” and other non-Leftist facts and opinions.

We know this is commonplace because companies like Reddit edit content all the time, and social media companies are planning to expand into mind-computer links which allow people to navigate social media with their thoughts, raising the question of social media will use your thoughts for advertising purpose and possibly, influence them in turn:

Facebook is at least at the moment not able to assure users that their brain activity will not be appropriated to sell ads. This is of course not an indication that the company will do this, only that they are not prepared to rule it out. And to be sure, this is still a hypothetical — it’s possible the company’s neural keyboard will remain somewhere between vaporware and marketing stunt, as has been the case with its solar-powered flying internet relay, or Amazon’s national delivery drone fleet.

A handful of sites control most of the traffic on the web, and their tendency is to be good Leftists and censor or at least bury opposing sources. At the same time, they are expanding to take over even more of our daily lives, putting us at the mercy of them and their ideological overlords.

On top of that, these technologies already work as digital bullies that enforce conformity and lower self-esteem among the young and probably, the rest of us:

Four of the five most popular forms of social media harm young people’s mental health, with Instagram the most damaging, according to research by two health organisations.

…The survey, published on Friday, concluded that Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter are also harmful. Among the five only YouTube was judged to have a positive impact.

The four platforms have a negative effect because they can exacerbate children’s and young people’s body image worries, and worsen bullying, sleep problems and feelings of anxiety, depression and loneliness, the participants said.

Despite being billed as the great liberator of human thought, under the crushing weight of trends and what most people seem to prefer it to be, it has been converted into a new form of the Old Media, just as controlling of our minds and controlled by Leftist dogma, and it plans only to expand further until it crowds out everything else, achieving consensus through propaganda.

Net Neutrality Lunges In The Wrong Direction

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

The Left specializes in creating mental spam. Every few weeks, there is a new distraction that they hype into an end-of-the-world style issue, not so much because they care about the issue, but because they need to keep their base panicked and angry so that they become a personal army to crush opposition and demand Leftist power.

Currently the Leftism media-political establishment is raging about net neutrality:

Federal regulators will move to roll back one of the Obama administration’s signature Internet policies this week, launching a process to repeal the government’s net neutrality rules that currently regulate how Internet providers may treat websites and their own customers. The vote on Thursday, led by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, will kick off consideration of a proposal to relax regulations on companies such as Comcast and AT&T. If approved by the 2-1 Republican-majority commission, it will be a significant step for the broadband industry as it seeks more leeway under government rules to develop new business models. For consumer advocates and tech companies, it will be a setback; those groups argue that looser regulations won’t prevent those business models from harming Internet users and website owners. The current rules force Internet providers to behave much like their cousins in the legacy telephone business. Under the FCC’s net neutrality policy, providers cannot block or slow down consumers’ Internet traffic, or charge websites a fee in order to be displayed on consumers’ screens.

As usual, the Left wants to confuse one method of addressing a problem with the set of all methods, so that their voters think there is only one way to fix the problem and any deviation from that is treason.

First, we should talk about net neutrality. The original idea of the net was that every node could forward packages to every other node, based on the idea of mutuality, or that each did the same to others. This works in a subsidized or military system, but not in a market, where some sites are massively larger than others. This means that the little guys spend their money and energy supporting Google, Amazon, Wikipedia, Apple, Facebook and Twitter, while the big companies owe them nothing.

This means that net neutrality, as a concept, was dead the minute that the internet was commercialized.

Next, we should talk about monopoly. When a large search engine like Google, or massive site like Amazon or Wikipedia, controls most of the eyeballs, the policies this site uses to list links on its pages regulate who lives and who dies. A site with low Google rank disappears and its business evaporates; a concept that Wikipedia refuses to mention — in a model like that of the mainstream media, excluding its ideological enemies — just drops out of public consciousness. Any concept of neutrality is long dead.

With those in mind, we can turn to a solution. Regulation adds expense and litigation to otherwise thriving industries, displacing little guys and favoring big guys. The consumers ultimately want the ability to see anything they want on the net without consideration of what it is. But they have already lost that, long ago.

Instead, it makes sense to let the market cure this one. If an ISP is blocking your traffic, you can sign up with a competing ISP… except you cannot, because regulation keeps the market small and so you have few options. Instead of piling more bad regulations on top of that, it is time to repeal more laws and let the problem work itself out.

If consumers desire net neutrality as much as they claim they do, they will be willing to put market pressure on their ISPs instead of relying on Big Daddy Government to do it for them.

Where Neoreaction Should Have Gone: Anti-Formalism Against Dark Organization

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Neoreaction basically offered two ideas which arose most likely from Samuel Huntington’s The Clash Of Civilizations And The Remaking Of World Order: patchwork, or officialized balkanization, and formalism, which is a libertarian principle taken to its extreme hybridized with the Fascist idea of government as a corporation.

However, it probably should have gone further after that, and instead of viewing the world through an economic lens, viewed it through an informational one. That is: we exist in constant memetic warfare, with culture wars the norm, as a species which is trying to produce its first enduring civilization after many have burned out. There is new ground to cover there.

In information science, we apply economic principles to the change in information that details patterns in our world. As such, we think more in terms of which ideas create momentum and win out, and how this changes the filters humans use to perceive the world, than the downstream of that, which is economics which is guided by human preference.

This leads us to an analysis of information monopoly as a way of locking ideas into civilization, and the context of this in herd dynamics which are divided between oblivion and stampede:

The notion of “radical monopoly” plays an important role in Illich’s critique of professionalism:

A radical monopoly goes deeper than that of any one corporation or any one government. It can take many forms. When cities are built around vehicles, they devalue human feet; when schools preempt learning, they devalue the autodidact; when hospitals draft all those who are in critical condition, they impose on society a new form of dying. Ordinary monopolies corner the market; radical monopolies disable people from doing or making things on their own. The commercial monopoly restricts the flow of commodities; the more insidious social monopoly paralyzes the output of nonmarketable use-values. Radical monopolies . . . impose a society-wide substitution of commodities for use-values by reshaping the milieu and by “appropriating” those of its general characteristics which have enabled people so far to cope on their own.

Professions colonize our imaginations; or as Michel Foucault (whom Illich’s language sometimes recalls—or anticipates) might have said, they reduce us to terms in a discourse whose sovereignty we have no idea how to contest or criticize.

In other words, society tends to formalism in the older definition, which means using explicit rules and procedures instead of being based in principle and the abilities of those who rule it. Each part of it, like every ethnic group, can be counted on to act in self-interest, which begins with seizing control and achieving monopoly.

Monopoly is not always bad… but usually, it is a path to entropy. When there is only one way to rise in a system, the conditions imposed by that method take the place of reality itself, and so a feedback loop begins that drives that dialogue farther from reality and more into the terms of the system.

Formalism creates dark organization in this way. By removing incentives from real-world results and defining them in terms of the system instead, it encourages manipulation of the system, and “inverts” all definitions and goals to reflect individual human needs instead of the goals of civilization, principle, meaning, purpose, future, past and other abstract intangibles.

If Neoreaction had understood formalism in this manner, it would have understood what a disaster formalism actually is, and instead advanced formalism a general theory of not entrusting power to any self-interested groups whose self-interest does not reward the self-interest of the civilization itself, and through that, its human ecosystem and its members.