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  • I spent my career as a technology optimist.

  • I was lucky enough to be there for the entire ride of personal computers, data networking, enterprise software, the Internet, Netscape, Amazon, Google.

  • I was lucky enough to be a mentor to Mark Zuckerberg in the early days of Facebook, the Silicon Valley that I joined in 1982 and the one that I spent most of my career.

  • It was one that was in the business of empowering the people who used its products.

  • The culture of Silicon Valley changed in the early years, the millennium, and it went from being this very positive empowering thing, too, by roughly 2012 or 2013 to being a place where the most successful companies were based on business models that started by violating the law that would be Airbnb, uber and lyft, or creating addiction that would be Jewell or exploiting the ignorance of a community that would be Spotify.

  • And I realized at that point I had passed my sell by date.

  • So I retired and immediately a T end of 2015.

  • When I retired.

  • Ah, month later, I saw something going on in Facebook.

  • They disturbed me and over the course of the spring of 2016 I saw examples related to the Democratic primary civil rights and then Brexit, where I realized that the business model and algorithms of Facebook could be used not just for good, and not just for the benefit of helping advertisers find their customers with lower cost.

  • And consumers find things they were interested into the lower cost.

  • They could also be used to undermine democracy into undermine civil rights.

  • And it took me four months before I could find anybody who would talk to me about this issue.

  • I was asked to write an opinion piece for the technology blogger recode and while I was drafting and the news came out that the Russians were actively attempting to interfere in the U.

  • S.

  • General election and my wife and is here with us today encouraged me to send my draft opinion piece to Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, which I did nine days before the US presidential election, 2016 and I was warning my friends of this flaw in the business model in the algorithms which I viewed a systemic, and I viewed it as a situation where they were the victim and unintentionally, they were undermining civil rights and democracy.

  • The problem is that the culture of business in America not just the culture of Silicon Valley but all business in America no longer treats consumers as a real customer worthy of protection.

  • We're very much in a world where there are very few rules where the role that government played in capitalism, of setting rules and then enforcing them fairly for everyone has been eroded steadily over 40 years, to the point where it's a free for all, which favors the powerful at the expense of everyone else.

  • I spent three months begging Facebook to do the right thing.

  • They were treated behind one phrase.

  • Roger, we're a platform, not a media company.

  • We're not responsible for the actions of third parties.

  • And I'm saying, guys, your business is based on trust.

  • Once you lose it, you will never regain it.

  • I'm begging you, Please get this right.

  • They were not interested.

  • It's possible, perhaps likely that I was the wrong messenger.

  • It's possible that I was giving them the wrong message.

  • For whatever reason, I failed and I concluded that with the 2018 midterm elections fast approaching in 2020 beyond it that I needed to share with the U.

  • S.

  • Government and the public at large.

  • What I understood about the business model and culture Facebook.

  • So I became an activist.

  • It is not a role that I'm born Thio and I have found it to be in extreme challenge.

  • When I began, I found an ally young man named Tristan Harris who had been the design ethicist to Google.

  • He was an expert in persuasive technology.

  • He helped me to understand the mechanisms of the business model of Facebook in a way that I had not appreciated before.

  • That these are media companies.

  • They're competing against television, newspapers, magazines, radio, video games, Netflix sports.

  • They need our attention.

  • They get it initially by appealing to the weakest elements of human psychology.

  • The things we cannot evade.

  • No matter how hard to attract as human beings, we have an unstoppable need, an unstoppable need for rewards.

  • We need social validation.

  • They send us notifications.

  • 42 people liked your post.

  • Yea, please join my network on linked in or you've been tagged in a photograph.

  • Would you like to tag some other people now with the Lincoln and the tagging.

  • They trigger another inescapable human need.

  • The need for social reciprocity.

  • Somebody's done something nice for us.

  • I gotta do something nice back.

  • They begin a cycle and they do it on a device that is on your body.

  • And the next thing you know, every free moment you're checking your phone, you see yourself.

  • Well, what's the harm in that?

  • It's just a happen.

  • The problem is, this kind of happened consume, become an addiction.

I spent my career as a technology optimist.

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Taking on Big Tech with Roger McNamee

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/09/20
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