Note — Mar 17, 2019

Silicon Valley Isn’t Just a Technostate

Smart piece on the size and influence of Facebook and other GAFAS. On their trans nationality, cultural influence, PR vs actions, and whether it is “time to worry about not just a so-called technostate, but a tech supra-state, where companies supersede the state altogether.”

Such is the scale of the digital revolution: Decisions made by an alarmingly small number of people on the U.S. West Coast have global implications. […]

We are faced with a remarkable situation in which a conglomeration of private companies both own a significant part of modern social infrastructure, but are also lobbying to extend that power into other spheres: urbanism, education, governance and more. […]

It is necessary to understand tech’s influence as far more sociocultural than it is material. The shift to digital has produced an array of new forms of culture, not just new forms of technology. […]

How individual states such as Canada deal with multinational companies that not only operate internationally but, in their very functioning, challenge the notion of physical borders, is a test that the current regulatory framework is ill-equipped to address.

As we can read in The People Who Hated the Web Even Before Facebook, some people have been … less optimistic about the internet / web for a while and warned us of the risks.

These were deeper criticisms about the kind of society that was building the internet, and how the dominant values of that culture, once encoded into the network, would generate new forms of oppression and suffering, at home and abroad. […]

Oppression will worm its way into even the most seemingly liberating spaces. The noncommercial will become hooked to a vast profit machine. People of color will be discriminated against in new ways. Women will have new labors on top of the old ones.