They're bluffing. Turning off Google Drive, Google Duo, Google Gmail, Google Play Movies and TV, Google Play Movies, Google Play Music, Google Play Store, Google Keep, Google Maps, Google Photos, and Google YouTube doesn't do anything other than turn off those user-facing apps. Google Play Services is the only one that affects other apps. Then install F-Droid and install open source replacements.
"I don't like Google Maps and I deleted it. Now I can't see the map! Fix it now!"
"I see. There are competing map services available."
"That's not the map I want. I want the map!(Google Maps)"
"You can use a browser."
"Browser? What is it? I simply want to use map!"
"If you really wan to use the Google Maps from the app. Then you have to install the app called Google Maps"
"I don't understand you! Speak English! FIX IT! FIX IT!"
From our point of view it sounds idiotic. Even sometimes narcissistic. But in there world it makes sense, because they have no idea how those two actions connect.
Anyway, mum calls me up because she's having issues with getting Netflix to work on her TV. After a bunch of troubleshooting trying to help her over the phone, I asked her to reinstall the Netflix app. She goes silent. She didn't have the application installed, she had been trying to run Netflix on her tv by using an internet browser to go to the Netflix website and watch shows that way.
i mean, is it common for a user to hold contradictory thoughts like that?!
In the case of "deleting Google maps" I'd suggest many users probably operate by remembering a recipe of actions they need to take to get a result, of a form "see this" -> "do that". If they aren't regular computer users, it is easy to see how the fact that some of those steps are in a context that we call "Google Maps" could escape them. They probably aren't comfortable with the idea of programs (especially if someone has told them that programs are separate from each other; because as an axiom that it is sometimes violated). Google Maps isn't labeled inside the app, so if they don't already know what it is they aren't going to figure it out.
In short, yes users are going to believe contradictory things. Just because Hacker News users all know the common abstractions by heart doesn't make them obvious to everyone.
(Depressingly, yes. PEBKAC is the most common diagnosis and people get really angry about it.)
Developers surprised by users lacking a mental model of the operating system, who follow HIGs without understanding why they exists, or who never see how their applications are used, are prone to build applications that kill by a thousand paper cuts.
It doesn't help that people skills are moved to a separate discipline and not taught as part of the essential CS curricula.
PEBKAC == "Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair",
means you, the user, are the cause of the issue, not the hardware or the software
PICNIC == "Problem In Chair, Not In Computer"
— "It's PICNIC again, guys"
— groans all around
The bindings between intents or filetypes and the apps that open them is a rather common support issue across numerous platforms.
For whatever reason it's pretty common for users to think ... "I'll never need excel on this computer", but then be rather irate when they can't open an excel attachment.
I, personally, understand the shortcut. Do you want to not break stuff or educate consumers? One of those sounds really expensive.
I mean, it’s a clever threat. I think it overestimates people at their most angry. A rational person wouldn’t break stuff. An irrational person will double down on their belief that you broke other stuff.
[I start to explain how she keeps messing up the browser saved passwords.]
Never mind that! Just fix the login!
(I'm not just tossing this out there, I put Cyanogen on a Nexus 5 for a while.)
They wanted bash and the command line, but they got tired of dicking around with their machine all day.
Don't be fooled. By minor he means "Yes, the kernel panics on boot, but the kernel did load."
It boots completely fine to a blank, black screen with no errors at all.
Completely minor. Just need to set a few kernel options to make it work properly.
There are ways to get it to work, of course, but for any distro I've used, before you've dealt with this a few times, it's not obvious which set of instructions will both result in usable drivers and not break upon kernel update. I now have a "how to install Centos 7" document that I'm still not sure is actually 100% correct.
Linux comes with strings attached. On the other hand I had to deal with Win7 issues as well (such as the Windows Updater hogging up 50% of the processor) which weren't easy to fix either. In hindsight, it's on par. On Linux, it's easy to switch to a previous kernel, I like that really. And I use timeshift before critical updates.
The only concession I did, was to buy an HP printer recently because of HP's support on Linux.
I love that there are opensource alternatives to many commercial products, but I am sad at the relatively low quality of coherence and interoperability of applications.
When you make products for the hundreds of millions of people who barely know anything about technology, such things are necessary.
Is https://microg.org/ a suitable substitute?
i have used custom rom without googles stuff(including services). i was fine for my use case as i do not rely on google for my workflow.
That doesn't deny that Google has done a lot I'm not comfy with - but I feel like had these other players done the right thing and not refused to update OSes, if they had embraced open APIs, then Google wouldn't even have been tempted to do some of the particular evils the article discusses.
The physical storage company holds your stuff - and eventually liquidates it - because you're paying to rent that space and your stuff is inside of their physical property. You aren't paying monthly rent to access the app store when you buy an iPhone, that's supposedly free to access (the parent mentions not being able to even update free apps). Apple bricking access to the app store changes that equation, they're proclaiming by doing that that the app store isn't always free to access as a baseline.
Apple is certainly within their rights to go that direction as a business. However, I'm certain that's a very different value proposition than what nearly all iPhone buyers think they're getting when they buy their very expensive phone (ie they expect free, unencumbered access to the app store as a minimum offering whether they buy any other Apple services or not).
You're right, it's a legal lien, but with absolutely none of the consumer protections we would require of any other business.
Using your storage company example, they can't just arbitrarily hold someone's possessions hostage the second they don't pay. There's a legal process that must be followed to place a lien against someone else's property.
The storage company can't do anything until a payment is at least 15 days late. They also have to send a written notice to the customer of their intent to place a lien (in the form of locking the customer out) against the property and notify the customer of the exact date the lien will go into effect. The effective date has to be at least two weeks out from the date of the written notice to the customer.
Would we allow an automobile financing company to repossess a car the day after a missed payment? What about a mortgage company foreclosing on a house? Of course not. But Apple can ostensibly cut off someone's app store access, and their access to free apps and updates to applications they already have a license to use, instantly and without prior notice. Not even the government has that kind of unchecked power over an individual's personal property.
Apps imo should not have that control. It's my phone. I should be able to capture what I want. I shouldn't need to get out another device to take a picture of a bug or record a transaction for safe keeping.
That Google chose that solution struck me as heading down a Black mirror like path. I can imagine it won't be long before AI will decide if you can even take a picture of something. Someday we'll augment our eyes and they'll decide what we're allowed to see.
In their defense apparently they were trying to prevent background apps from spying on your screen. They just chose the wrong solution IMO. A solution I think will end up having far reaching consequences as a precedent of control.
So it appears this has already begun, and the database of off-limits places / things of the machines you think you direct has already begun, and will certainly grow larger.
I have heard from several blind people that this is also Google's excuse for the horribly broken Android accessibility.
If you're sort of liberal, it's a real mind bender to listen to Milton's speeches on YouTube. It was the first time I really felt exposed to the philosophical core of the various negative things I thought were random externalities of 'capitalism'
At his core, Friedman was fundamentally about a person's right to choose the direction of their own life. That's it -- really all you have to understand about the guy.
The GOP seems to love Friedman right now, even though they don't understand him and that makes him an easy target for the opposition. In truth his arguments were fundamentally no different from his oft-adored 'liberal' peers: Henry Simons, Ludwig von Mises, and Friedrich von Hayek. Economic freedom is essential to attain political freedom.
Freedom is a messy thing. It not only needs to be used carefully, but nurtured. Misuse of it does not mean we should have less of it.
What you typed out here means nothing. It gives no clarity on where the border is between my freedom in my sphere of influence and your freedom in your sphere of influence. Saying "use freedom carefully" gets us nowhere unless we've already agreed to a set of principles such as "your freedom shouldn't restrict my freedom". And when that messy conversation has begun it leads on to "how can we make sure you adhere to that principle" and suddenly you've created a society and government.
"Moar freedom!" is a platitude. Unless freedom is limited (and we can argue all life long about what those limits should be) all you end up with is "might makes right". That's certainly not a society I want a part in
Framing an argument for freedom as an argument for anarchy, as an excuse for curtailing freedom, is exactly what my comment was railing against in the first place.
He spoke in generalities, and for anything he said, if he was ever confronted about the negative consequences, he'd quickly blast out some contradicting generalities.
The only consistent thing was what we've come to call the Chicago School of economics, which is basically responsible for the present style of capitalism we all enjoy.
This is usually why the socialists and other marxists stay quiet about their beliefs in discussions like this while they heap criticism on criticism.
Tangentially, the thing that most of us who 'get things done' for a living have learned though is that people who offer criticisms and no solutions don't end up getting to stick around very long.
Friedman and Hayek are two idealogues that I believe civilisation will look back very unkindly on.
But, yeah, corporate personhood and bailouts need to be revisited. It's too bad that we need to have a functional policital culture to make any significant changes like that.
And donating $15 to AARP doesn't give you any meaningful influence over its positions.
> The owners of Apple, save for a few individuals, don’t have a real say in how Apple uses its freedom of speech.
But that's mostly true of any consumer-level involvement of any very large organization. It doesn't matter if it's Apple, Greenpeace, or the Libertarian Party.
> Apple/Google/Exxon, etc. have far more money to send on political speech than any other organized group of people.
Probably, but while money is helpful to getting your message out, it's not the only important things. Worse funded candidates beat better funded opponents. If anything, incumbent advantages seem more important and worrisome.
But with a more principled perspective, there isn't a mechanism by which free speech rights can be curtailed just because someone is especially resourced. If so, shouldn't we also criticize white collar professional societies for doctors, lawyers, realtors, and the like? They're much more capable of lobbying than associations of dishwashers (as if kitchen staff had time and energy for that).
As I stated in my previous post the amount of money at a large corporation’s disposal far exceeds that of any other organization of people who come together to advocate on their behalf. Professional societies of doctors can’t come close to the amount of money that Apple or Google have at their disposal. The difference in money between the dishwashers and doctors is dwarfed by the difference between doctors and Apple.
Countries like France and Germany are generally considered free and yet their corporations don’t have free speech rights and are limited in what they can do in terms of political spending. Before Citizens United most Americans considered America a free country and yet corporations weren’t considered to have the same free speech rights as humans. It’s been recognized by most people that money greatly influences elections and policy. Hence societies concerned about becoming oligarchies tend to have strict controls on political spending by a single individual and corporation.
A corporation is not at all like a professional society of doctors or of any other group of people. It’s a matter of magnitudes of scale and differing purpose. We used to have laws against one company owning too much media and yet we felt free at the time. I’m not going to convince you to change your mind on whether or not corporations should have free speech. I’m just pointing out that corporations are, indeed, not like a professional society of doctors.
A professional society of doctors is free to have a rule that members must pledge to be of a particular religion. Can a company have that rule? A company is not a group of people coming together for the purpose of influencing policy or expressing their free speech.
I almost forgot to mention another thing to consider. Apple is owned in part by people living in other countries. Most people of a given country don’t want their politics unduly influenced by people who don’t live there.
Most free societies have limits on what corporations and organizations can spend on political campaigns. This was true of the U.S. too until recently. Until recently the belief that a nonhuman should have the same free speech rights as a human was bizarre. It’s still considered bizarre in just about every other nation in the world. I suppose this is another example of American Exceptionalism. What other people could have been brave enough to grant the same free speech rights humans have to non humans!
There are serious people who believe that the New York Times has rights when it comes to printing news. Many of these same serious people believe that the New York Times should not have the right to spend its profits as they see fit on whatever political campaigns/parties/candidates it wants to.
Except for news companies, entertainment companies, education companies, advertising companies, companies that place advertising, and companies whose interests need to be represented to elected officials and the public, sure.
And think of it from the other side. If the New York Times gets special free speech rights for journalistic reasons, who decides that they qualify as special? Does the government get to decide what counts as journalism? There's no mechanism for that either.
As to international concerns:
- Many of the things I mention (like deciding who gets especially free speech) are broad concerns, not ones specific to the U.S.
- Because of the principle of freedom of association, people from other countries are free to stay away from companies or countries, at least to the degree their governments allow that freedom.
It's fair to be concerned that corporations have negative impact at times. But large companies also use free speech to promote social, health, and environmental causes all the time. We don't complain about pink ribbon campaigns, global warming awareness initiatives, partnerships with nonprofits, sponsorships of publicly produced content, and other corporate speech like that.
Every group has processes, rules, and norms for deciding how to produce and distribute content.
It used to be the case that media had a special set of regulations regarding their ownership and how large they could be in terms of expansion. That is effectively no longer the case. The government, by the laws it enacted, has the authority to regulate media companies. Well, they used to. Society through it’s leaders gets to decide these things, for the most part. There are limits on what can legally be done by the government. Thanks to the Supreme Court that limit has been greatly expanded. The fact is that until recently few people held the belief that corporations should have the same free speech rights as humans.
Should Toyota, a foreign corporation with presence in the U.S., have the ability to influence American elections the way that a professional society of American doctors has? Allowing corporations to have the same free speech rights as humans is quite bad and will have long term bad consequences for the country.
Until Citizens United corporations didn’t have the same free speech rights as humans. This idea is a recent phenomenon. It’s unique, I believe, to the U.S. The U.S. is not the only “free” country in the world. This ought to suggest to you that perhaps something is strange with the notion of a corporation having the same free speech rights as a human.
I wish the protectors of corporate rights were as vigilant when it came to the rights of humans. But this isn’t the case in the U.S. so I’m in favor of companies not having speech limits in the U.S. for the same reason that I voted for Trump. The U.S. deserves the mess it is in. Let the road to serfdom be an easy one to navigate!
But then the railroad corporations got big and rich enough to buy off Congress and the Supreme Court. They got human rights before women did ;)
The notion that people do not lose their legal and constitutional rights when acting collectively seems to me to be a very dangerous one to want to revoke, and it's not obvious to me that any legal right granted by a specific law should entail any unstated or implicit revocation of any other such rights.
Newspapers are corporations. Do they have no right of free speech? OK so you could start carving out all sorts of technical exceptions, but that way lies madness and a bonanza for the legal profession at little benefit so far as I can see.
Finally as to limited liability, as I understand it limited liability corporations are generally subject to additional taxes as a cost of their liability privileges and that seems to me to be a practical and proportionate arrangement.
McCain-Feingold was only law for under a decade.
Assembly is fine, but as far as I'm concerned, any organization that accepts donations for political purposes should be required to have open books, outlining where donations come from, and not allowing donations from foreign sources, including international conglomerates.
That's just where I stand... I go very far on personal liberty, and the ability to form groups with public receipts, but that's where it should end.
Fully agree that Google and Facebook are mainly to blame. As an example, Google's success in surveillance and pacifying critics through open source trinkets almost definitely convinced Microsoft to try its hand at the same game. And now the two biggest operating system developers are spying on their so-called customers.
Honestly, I’ve always perceived Google as less insidious than Facebook. To me FB is more in your face, channeling your behavior. Google seems more passive and delivers more utility.
What am I missing?
Both companies scare the hell out of me but for different reasons.
I don’t see how you can be Google without being scary.
Then you've got the Chrome problem.
PS I just came back from CES as a journalist. Tried to get in touch with Google folks, and they are literally behind the walls, unavailable for interviews. It’s all hush hush. Security at Aria suites where they were present. No access whatsoever. Their main booth at LVCC was staffed by temps hired in Las Vegas, whose only job was to jump and shout Hey Google! Truly dystopian.
Embedded as journalists are within a capitalist system, they must earn sufficient capital to live upon. Or find alternative means of support, like some form and/or degree of self-sufficiency. Really good journalists seem to be uber-networkers of a sort: they have a highly-honed networking skill cutting across many societal boundaries unlike most networkers, and seem to mostly not parley that network into a monetizing scheme to retain their impartiality. But that impartiality seems to come at a cost too steep for many to pay.
This leads to a vicious cycle. Structurally, the most proven way to currently get advertising income (primary business model supporting most journalism) is essentially create click bait content, or maintain some form of distribution monopoly (Elsevier-like, Bloomberg-tie-in-like, or Clear Channel in US radio) or distribution oligopoly (old newsprint companies). The Net is eroding the latter two delivery channels, driving more journalists towards facile coverage at best, crude exaggeration at the median, outright sensationalist falsehoods at worst.
This gives a short- to medium-term boost to advertising income, but erodes factual coverage, at the worst moment possible: just as civilizational complexity is accelerating. Long-term, I'm seeing the echo chamber tendency many have talked at length about here (I hypothesize as technology exposes more people to more of the Gell-Mann effect, more notice, and they start to turn inwards on news sources to defend themselves? dunno.). There are some nuggets of gold out there, but they're very difficult to find. Confounding this is good journalism with actionable information on complex topics is expensive as hell. Good journalism these days sometimes is mistaken as buy-side analysis, which doesn't help (capitalism is blind to many issues that buy-siders don't cover).
It also doesn't help that there are many instances where journalists actually analyzing an issue of great substance get their friends and families threatened (which costs even more money to defend against) and in many cases are outright killed , or like Assange, relentlessly persecuted by the resources of a nation-state or large corporate powers.
So the easy way out for many "news businesses" seems to reward low-effort, high-volume content, and as a byproduct we experience the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect. Quipping about it is my exasperated, tongue-in-cheek response to what I perceive as a highly complex, interconnected set of problem spaces.
We've discussed the "good journalism" conundrum many times here on HN   , and various aggregation platforms   have been proposed, but the problem to me seems to be much larger than "journalists aren't paid enough", or "where has all the good journalism gone to". To even start on "the journalism problem", I suspect we have to admit the tough truth that the current status quo as envisioned, implemented, supported and championed by various elites around the world is simply not delivering progress for significant sectors of civilization. Aggregate measures are improving, but trotting that out is cold comfort for those affected. Sure, The Net might be great and snazzy, but in the meantime journalism as a profession appears to be slowly bleeding to death.
Don't look to me for any solutions though, I'm just an outside bystander missing the old, incisive writing in newsprint I grew up with and see in newspaper morgues at libraries, and I have zero interaction with journalism as a profession or business. I'm just stabbing in the dark here at what the problem even is, and welcome others who operate on the business side to shed some light.
There's nothing particularly wrong with that. The onus is on society/government to set boundaries.
Google is pretty scary - but imagine a world where google never existed and instead companies like AT&T, Comcast, or even Microsoft had filled that market void instead? (And guess what? They are all trying desperately to get there.)
At least with fbook it’s fairly transparent – we are cramming ads down your throat, and people are sharing shit that is not necessarily true but it makes you feel the ‘others’ are bad, and your tribe is better, and we make it easy to like and share.
There are many other reasons for the bad things these companies do that could weigh in on who is worse for the world, who is worse for democracy, etc -
Sure facebook might be able to cause more damage to more people more quickly – easily being weaponized and helping people spread dangerous messages around the world, it’s fairly transparent that it’s random fake people being fake, and advertisers are trying to sway you to do things you would not be doing otherwise.
however Google is more evil, as it purports itself as the arbiter of truth – yet it hides so much from the world and is opaque in so many ways, the truths it shows are not counter balanced by others who have similar access to show the other side of whatever story.
Google is unfair to it’s users and webmasters. Thing is, many people may never know it. That is more badness imho.
Google on the other hand ain't that bad. They do deliver a lot of value, they have some extraordinary products. They are also pretty unlucky in business (most of their products are failures plain and simple).
I think that for Google it is just a phase and they will soon wake up and realize that being part of surveillance capitalism is harming the company and diminishing its value.
Google delivers no utility beyond the companies that it acquired, and its monopolies due to size and control over so many handsets allowed it to push out the competition that would force it to improve what it does offer.
Youtube and Maps, at least, have a worse, more intrusive interface than they did 10 years ago. It's completely a subjective statement, but for me their search results are far worse in comparison to 10 years ago, and in obvious ways, like every link on the first 5 pages of any search trying to sell me something or repeating the same wikipedia copy.
To estimate the utility of Google, you have to compare it to the ecosystem that you would expect to have existed if Google didn't exist, not to the ecosystem you would expect if search engines, streaming video lockers, and an alternative to iOS on mobile didn't exist.
The only two nice things that google ever did for me was 1) count backlinks to give me better search results, and 2) create a culture of less intrusive ads through their monopoly power. The SEO people killed innovation 1), and google pretended that they were going to use magic AI to beat them but secretly gave up. 2) would have been done anyway by the rise of the adblockers, and google ruined all goodwill by innovating on a culture of intrusive tracking and behavior monitoring and profiling on the internet that has become a threat to its very existence.
Facebook is just filling a need that governments should be filling: providing an organized way for individuals to communicate with each other over the internet. Extracting rents is what companies do when they take over functions for absentee governments. Facebook doesn't seem to care much about what is outside facebook, other than how it helps them extract more rent from the people inside facebook.
Google is actively spreading over everything, and making it worse.
This is bizarre and wrong. The purpose of the internet is communication. If it exists, communication does. It supports a multitude of communication modes with varying levels of "organization" (whatever you mean by that), and none of them rely on government to function. Of those that have seen improvements (e.g., better spam filters for email), none of those improvements have come from government.
Of course, Facebook is just about the worst of all the modes of communication supported by the internet, so if you like how bad that is maybe you really just hope government could make it worse...
Let’s not ignore the complicity of their users. You can live without Google and Facebook.
How, when your work place often requires that you use their products? They expect you to be on Slack, then you got to have a phone and laptop and use the company blessed authentication portals (also handled by Google and the likes) to log in.
And not just work, also simply living in your city will require it. Who calls a cab by voice anymore? At some point I am sure there will be no way to do it. I have never seen a cab radio device in my city for many years.
Not to mention that your friends will have you in their contacts, images, comments and emails, which are hosted on
Google and FB whether you like it or not.
Governments didn’t think any of this was important until recently. By the time they did, Silicon Valley outspent wall street 2:1 on lobbying in the US.
Most journalists found understanding technology boring and difficult (beyond eagerly regurgitating spec sheets) and have little interest in understanding businesses beyond reporting a citable stock-price fluctuation. Most of the reporting during the ascent of surveillance capitalism has simply been “look at the boy genius nerds! A tshirt in the boardroom!”.
The stats you show does not have all that much to do with ease of convincing someone and could be explained by millions other ways.
Market is right, but price has little to do with how easy it is to convince people. Mineral watter is cheap and it is not because it is not valuable. It is because there is ton of it and if you sell it expensively, I will buy cheaper one.
Quoting from the review:
> “The goal of everything we do is to change people’s actual behavior at scale,” a top Silicon Valley data scientist told her in an interview. “We can test how actionable our cues are for them and how profitable certain behaviors are for us.”
So both Google and Apple vacuum up your data, and both are required to comply with lawful governmental requests, but only one of these companies makes money from your data by selling your attention to those who would modify your behavior. (For now).
I don't really buy this. If it were true, they'd have no reason not to open up more of their software. Why not take the Hack out of Hackintosh, distribute the OS freely and let anybody run it on whatever hardware they please? The answer is obvious: their software drives purchases of their hardware. People buy Apple hardware because they desire Apple software. You'll be hard pressed to find somebody who buys a macbook but then primarily runs Windows on it.
It's not a matter of Apple "hardware company" or a "software company" that's important here, in this context. It's Apple being a "hardware or software or both" company, while Google and Facebook are neither hardware nor software companies. They're advertising companies.
(assuming that bayer and johnson and johnson may have given fbk or big G money for ads at some point, and perhaps companies that make plastic or pump poison into the ground and water to extract gas, other companies that use plastic, etc)
To think that these 'top companies" make it easier to use data to change an ad slightly so that it sways the opinion of open group of people one way and another group another - and get be put right in front of someone's eyes at the moment they are feeling down or researching something else -
This kind of propaganda power is indeed saying a lot about the improvement of the well educated and powerful humans of today.
As to the "great improvement" of humans today.. I'd say a majority are being influenced, and it's more often about extracting money from the majority than it is to personalize in a do-no-burn, let's-un-poison kind of way.
There has been some push back on occasion, (facebook wanting to withhold data against the NY AG looking for insurance fraudsters with pm data?) and in some cases the gov has backed off, a few times the courts made them back off some (the dreamhost site visitors data requests from sessions and co?) -
There are many more examples, however I agree with your comment and I think that in general most people are unaware of massive gov overreach with data requests at the moment, so most would say the data is not being grossly over used / abused by (the US) gov right now.
However that could change quickly, just as the cambridge analytica made people start to question some things with private companies use / abuse.
I think they should try adding warning signs to phone packages, like they do in cigarettes, "tracking inside" , and see how this affects consumer choices.
Not for Google. Permission is given when you agree to sign up for a Google account. Google tries to trick you into signing up by using a dark pattern. Just click "Later", then remove the signup app. I've been doing that for years now on Android phones.
If you think users are so stupid then why even play these games? There are no regulations, no one cares about user privacy and everyone's sold out, fair enough but being 'coy' about it makes a mockery of informed discussion.
The possibility that a free, democratic publishing platform increases the agency of the average citizen is not permitted here.
I like targetted advertising and I like these companies knowing things about me that I don't even know.
The best example I can provide is my USB powered hand warmers. I do a lot of study at night and early mornings during winter. My desk is in a very large area and to keep my fingers warm enough to type I needed to warm the entire area. Facebook served me an add for USB powered hand warmers that now save me a significant amount on my power bill in the colder months.
Disclaimer: 10 years in the military, where you have no rights. You sort of become accustomed to people wanting to control you.
however I think what you are pointing out is important, and I'd like to think that we are educating people to question what they see and hear, and that if they were surfing the whole web of the world, not the censored google view or fbook view - they indeed they would be able to increase their agency and continue to do so in many ways, rather than being restricted to a particular prude groups view of what advertisers may be comfortable with.
One day the trolls / bots / advertisers will find out that a lot of well paid influential engineers regularly read HN, and that will be the end of it.
They're also intentionally filtered at the behest of the owners themselves and tuned to elicit user dependence on the platform.
Their cost is just hidden, they're not free.
So this possibility is permitted for about 5s, the time required to think about it a bit and then reject it as totally unrealistic.
They are democratic as publishing and research platforms because every citizen has equal access to them, subject only to a device and internet connection. Only 20 years ago, the ability to publish and spread an opinion was heavily restricted by your power and financial status. With the exception of countries with good public libraries (a small minority of the world) the same was true of libraries. You're comparing to a non-existent utopia, not actual universes that have ever existed anywhere.
That's capitalism, no need to make up a new term.
It’s more than just admitting we are wrong. We also have to find a way out, and there isn’t one unless we all do it together.
You’re exactly right that we urgently need to move beyond the blame and recognize it’s up to all of us to get out of this mess.
Historical trajectories point to 2 possibilities for the United States: denialism followed by Fascism, or a miracle followed by socialism (of some degree). The miracle is a shortcut through the contradiction Upton Sinclair articulates: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it."
Capitalism is like the presidency, as soon as the new iteration comes along, everybody looks wistfully back to the previous administration.
>Enlightened executives understood that good pay and decent working conditions would ensure a prosperous middle class eager to buy the goods and services their companies produced.
Should I laugh or cry at this? Where were these enlightened executives when...oh, yeah, they were asking governors to call out the national guard to roll out machine guns on flat cars and shoot striking strikers and burn their family's tents.
>This is not to suggest that our lives are best evaluated with spreadsheets.
If they were spreadsheets, the implication would be that someone human would eventually look at them. But the whole point is to abstract such away from the human.
I forget where I read it, but someone who studies these things, presented that during the middle ages, the so-called trial by ordeal was really about doing two things, [aka the touching, for example, of a hot iron the accused's arm or palm and then bandaging and seeing if it was healing or pussy after a set number of days] wasn't about belief in some supernatural judgement but a way removing both God and man from the need to make the decision. Really, have we gotten so far away from that?
Also, people downplay Foucault, but I think more and more that might merely because of how topical he is, even after all this time. The panopticon has become unclothed from its steel-and-concrete body to be reborn transcendent.
>A less tendentious, more dispassionate tone would make her argument harder for Silicon Valley insiders and sympathizers to dismiss.
Considering where this article is from (and thinking of Wallace Stegner, who was supported by the CIA in regards to the Iowa Writer's Workshop to attack communistic and other such anti-capitalist elements) I can't help but recall a passage in one of Stegner's own books on writing praising the dispassionate, which, along with 'show don't tell' were expressly promulgated to prevent and inculcate writers from undesired politics (and that isn't a joke).
> In Google’s early days, Page and Brin were wary of exploiting the data they collected for monetary gain, fearing it would corrupt their project. They limited themselves to using the information to improve search results, for the benefit of users. That changed after the dot-com bust. Google’s once-patient investors grew restive, demanding that the founders figure out a way to make money, preferably lots of it.
Enough of the juvenile hyperbole. Facebook nor Google sells future predictions of users. Facebook’s customers are advertisers. They sell ad placement. Thats a fact, not an opinion or analysis. Why should anyone take criticisms of Facebook seriously from people who don’t understand how Facebook even makes money?
They sell ads. There is nothing wrong or illegal about showing ads on a website.
Sure some ad sales are simply general feel good branding, some ads may be to get more data for use years later, however many of the ads I have run with both fbk and big G were in fact using their predictions of the future.
search term "dentist open saturday" - predicting a future dental visit.
realtor Portland - predicting future buying or selling of property.
yes their customers in which they can take money from are advertisers, and the product they are selling is the fbook user and google user, often predicting a future choice, and offering us a chance to influence for the right price.
The more they know about their product (the end user) like zip code, the more valuable sometimes.
There are sometimes issues when ads on a web site are illegal, and many more times when an advertisement is right or wrong is not so black and white but depends on many other factors.
On the surface the media is about keeping us informed.
But the incentive structure of media companies means that media’s real product is fear, write headlines and sell sensationalism in order to hook readers and sell subscriptions.
When co-opted by governments they sell control of the zeitgeist, sometimes we call that propaganda.
In fact, since slaves can’t be consumers, capitalism works as an incentive for freedom.
That's not broadly true. It might be true in some limited contexts, but it's not true when you consider the broader picture of slavery throughout human history.
Having slaves was profitable. A lot profitable. The only capitalist incentive for freedom was that north laborers did not wanted to compete with slaves. Competing with slaveholders sux, because slaves are cheaper and free men social status goes down if he do slaves like work. The rest of anti-slavery arguments had zero to do with "slaves will consume" nonsense that is absurd contemporary construction.
Once the other guy own slaves, his competitors have to buy slaves on their own, because free people require more salaries. So if you don't use them, your company won't be able to compete on price. That is how market makes slavery more and more common, assuming there is enough slaves available (either by transport or breeding) and no laws to prevent it.
Slavery existed for long. However, there were not that many societies where slave ownership was that large part of wealth and livestyle.
However, the Roman empire wouldn't have existed in it's highest form without slaves. They were integral to the economy.
Since it was in Rome, it was not profitable in south? Or which of my points is invalid by slavery being in Rome too? Julius Caesar basically committed genocide and that is Rome, therefore we should not analyse origins and philosophies of contemporary genocides?
Slavery is the belief that humans can be owned as property.
I suppose if property ownership is part of capitalism, then they have this slight connection, as communism is the abolishment of property ownership, and therefore, slavery would be impossible under communism.
It's a contested theory, though.
Maybe if people had waited a few more years for the mechanization of cotton picking, this would have corrected itself. Or maybe not. Maybe further mechanization would have created other opportunities for the use of slave labor.
My point is, "more industry = less slavery" is an oversimplification.
Then think about how much do you pay for google and facebook services.
An argument could also be made for Linux, that the users are the product. Like why does all this development get done on Linux? Because people use it. Why do companies choose Linux on their servers? Cause all the users that know it.
Sure, you're not getting exploited on these platforms, which is awesome, but the users are still valuable to each of them.
I agree that something being free does not always equal "its exploiting you" - however that does not discount the importance of remembering that a free service likely has ulterior motives compared to a premium service - but not always of course.
I remind myself and others about how free services are likely to change eventually so don't end up 'all in' on a free service as things can change when the company changes or gets sold or goes premium or whatever.
eg - people that built a business using an fbook page that saw the friend feeds change got screwed. News businesses that added fbook share this stuff to their pages to later find fbook putting more pressure on them than google..
When a video converting / hosting plugin was released for wordpress I had to pipe up and ask what the monetization plan was for this new thing - as it would not be tenable to have unlimited video hosting without ads or data sharing and other limits in the future..
When people do not think about these things, it's easy to take advantage of a free service and depend on it, sometimes at the expense of otherwise good competition - only to find later that vendor lockin is evil and can turn exploitative - even at times when the original creators intent was not to do that.
Even in those cases where you are not currently being exploited, you can still indeed be the product, if nothing else other than "our app has 100,000 users so we can have a value of..."
If people thought about this more, they would ask about exporting their data before signing up for a service, for continuation of service for example.
This kind of selling of users is more often with free services, but can also occur with paid services (many banks sell your info by default and only limit it when you opt out, and they still charge you fees for accounts for example)
However a service you pay a fee to like spotify perhaps? needs to be more careful about taking care of their primary customers (subscribers) so long as there is competition and all.
Sorry the rhetoric is annoying to you, it would be nice if people really understood this and thought it through.
Facebook needs you to like them so you voluntarily come back. You are the customer. “You are the product” misunderstands the business.
It's like, do you go back to the sugary foods cause they're so healthy and you love them, or are you low key addicted? I don't really consider that a healthy customer relationship.
When is a company abusing it's first amendment rights and dangerously coercing behavior, a la "yelling fire in theater"? At scale, this doesn't have to be explicitly extreme or violent to have actual extreme or violent effects.
When is it going too far against illegal search, by using technology that transcends physical, or psychic, boundaries?
When, really, have they crossed over your right to privacy, by accurately inferring very personal and private details you didn't share, from details you did?
I wonder what would happen if people flipped the script. Send Google a letter, stating your new ToS: "Your continued use of my data is $legalese, and if you don't reply with "no thanks", you agree to remit $dollars to me Monthly." If they don't respond, this is your new operating agreement.
I really wish people would stop using that example. That standard of free speech is obsolete, and it comes from an abhorrent case where a draft protestor during WWI was arrested for telling people to dodge the draft. "Yelling fire in a theater" was used to justify upholding his conviction. It's a deeply immoral standard of free speech.
H/e, that the example was used to uphold an immoral conviction does not make it an "immoral standard"; it makes the jury immoral people; "...fire!" is basically a metaphor at this point, an easy-to-abstract notion for when the first amendment will not defend you.
"Yelling fire" in this case was a metaphor for "opposing the draft."
What is the modern example/standard?