AI Tech Companies Had Better Watch Their Backs

November 20, 2017

In a case of perhaps getting too big for one’s own britches, there’s a lot of scuttlebutt about how our tech giants are in for a rude awakening, either from the government or competition. We learned more in a US News and World Report story, “Tech Companies Must Regain Trust.”

With all the negative publicity organizations like Facebook and Google have gotten has raised concerns, as we saw in the article:

Google and Facebook are not natural monopolies and ought not to be regulated as such. The history of the internet is a history of defunct giants that once oozed monopolistic power: Netscape, AltaVista, MySpace, AOL, among many others. Unlike constructing a news power grid, dislodging an incumbent does not require investing billions into new infrastructure. In principle, it only requires novel ideas.

(T)ech companies themselves can do a lot themselves in order not to actively invite onerous regulation. If they can invest in editorial judgment and quality control, crack down on bots and increase the transparency of their advertising schemes, the political case for new rules will become much weaker.

It’s a moment we will look back on and see as a watershed moment. Clearly, tech companies need better policing. Now is the moment they decide whether it will be themselves who make the change. Otherwise, the Googles and Facebooks of the world will suffer either from government regulation or from competition doing the job in question better.

Patrick Roland, November 20, 2017


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