Imagine a world without Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, or Twitter. For those of us who are over 30, that was as little as 15 years ago. It was a horrible existence. You couldn’t just tap on a button and make yourself heard. You had to remember phone numbers and actually go see people. Strangers couldn’t see your opinions or your duck face selfies. If you wanted something, you actually had to go to the store and buy it! If you were a kid, you had to entertain yourself with plastic toys and your own imagination. Your information was best kept written down or filed by HAND! Could any of us imagine going back to that? I doubt it.
Our lives have definitely improved.
But, there is no gain without investment. And what are these centralized companies asking us to invest? Our time. Our money. Our attention. Our data. Our privacy. Our location. Our minds. Our Soul? Many of us gladly buy into their ever rising stock prices by feeding them the collateral (mentioned above) that they profit from, but what about the same from our children? Because they want that too.
And their fees are going up.
Fact: You CAN NOT buy a smartphone that is not powered by either Apple or Google, and they have succeeded in both addicting us to our phones and solely relying on them for both our commerce and communication. Their duopoly is unquestioned.
In recent events, Apple and Google have exercised their monopoly powers to ban anything from their app stores that challenges them: Fortnite and BRAVE Browser Rewards are the first two to come to mind. But, more disturbingly is the fact that Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter have all taken it upon themselves to censor, not only the President of the United States, but also anyone who agrees with him by banning Parler from their app stores and canceling Pareler’s website hosting service (Amazon).
To be clear:
- Fortnite challenged Apple and Google’s tyrannical 30% toll for using their roadways
- Brave Browser and BAT Reward’s directly challenged Facebook, Google, and Amazon’s add revenue by daring to suggest that people should directly benefit from their attention and/or decision to purchase a product.
- Parler directly challenged Facebook and Twitter’s ability to dictate the truth and focus of the American people … let alone the rest of the world’s.
- I am certain there are many other examples that I am ignorant of.
- If they will do it in these instances, they will do it many more times in the future if they get away with it.
Now, I don’t give a damn if you love or hate Donald Trump. He’s gone in 9 days, but the fact that these centralized tech companies are taking the power upon themselves to censor even the president of the country in which they profit and thrive should scare the ever-loving shit out of anyone. If they can do it to someone you hate; they will also do it to someone you love. They don’t care about you, only their own power and interests. This goes far beyond tech firms using their monopoly powers to stifle competition for profit. These companies have more money than they could ever want, so now their goals have changed.
They don’t want money anymore, which is clear because they obviously don’t care about pissing off 48% of their customers through their actions.
Like I said before, their prices are rising. And, don't fool yourselves. They absolutely have the power to do this. They have it. Because we have handed it to them. We have willingly handed them the power to control the world of truth, communication, and commerce because we have given them our money, our attention, our trust, and our most personal information. We have made convenience our highest priority. Is the convenience what we receive in return worth it? Is returning to the way life was as little as 15 years ago worth our voice and our freedom?
Time will tell.
Just like the recent bull run in crypto, the technology in our lives has seen record breaking gains in terms of appreciation if you compare it to the course of human history. But if I stay true to that metaphor: what goes up must come down, right?
I’ve often wondered what might challenge Technocracy. I see the potential in crypto, but it's still too early to tell. I have seen the crypto community produce money that can’t be inflated, manipulated, or stolen (Bitcoin, Litecoin, BTC, Algorand). I have seen it produce lines of communications that answers only to its own nature (Etherium). I have seen a possible world, decentralized and truly democratic that is bound only by the laws of its own mathematical nature (Blockchain, nodes, stakeholders, etc.). Ever so recently I have seen ads for uncensorable web domains, encrypted emails, and blockchain based social media, which gives me hope because it means that the world is at least beginning to respond and not lay down and accept the dominion of the centralized tech giants.
But these things are in their infancy, and centralized technology is a very, very mature Goliath. I wonder if we will give David enough time to grow at least to the point where he can wield a sling? I wonder if the crypto community and technology will weather the storms of price fluctuations, regulations, lawsuits, KYC laws, and mainstream criticism in general. I wonder if people will willingly exchange their freedoms for comfort?
Could we really deal with the inconvenience necessary to break our addiction to centralized tech? Would it really be that bad to go back to the way of life 15 years ago in order to give David enough time to grow up? If we keep feeding the beast, it will only grow, perhaps to the point that it is unstoppable. And if that happens, all the crypto in the world couldn’t stop it. Just imagine if the COINBASE App got delisted by Apple and Google, and the BINANCE Website got denied service by Amazon? What if Verizon or AT&T starts singling out who can send a signal and who can’t?
You can’t go head to head with a beast. It has teeth; it has claws; and it has scales. It can breath fire and it can crush you with its tail. The only way to defeat a beast is to starve it or to gather in the numbers and kill it with a thousand cuts.
Ironically, I have seen many people I know protesting these very events on FB and Twitter. You’re just feeding the beast that you should be starving. Every time you log on. Every time you protest. Every time you bitch on the very platforms that are exploiting you, you do nothing but feed it. If you ever really begin to annoy it, you will be blocked or banned. The only weapon you have is to cut the cord. Go dark. Deprive them of the attention and influence that they seek, and realize that your efforts alone are not enough. You have to do it the hard way. You have to actually talk to people. You have to go through channels that aren’t convenient. You have to read and educate yourselves on alternative methods of communication.
Take out that thing in your back pocket and look at it. Realize what it is. It speaks to you in only one of two voices: Apple or Google, and they both speak the same language. It makes everything easy.
If it's easy, it's likely bait. Be careful what you bite.