Are Tech Companies Responsibility For the:
In the United States, there are companies that are always a part of our lives, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Together, they know everything we have bought, where we have been, and what we want. I’m talking about social media companies like Amazon, Apple, Alphabet (Google), Microsoft, and Facebook (Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat). Because of us, they make more than $900 billion in sales and are worth more than a trillion dollars on the market.
Not only do they have an unimaginable amount of money, but they also employ most of the smartest and most creative people in this country. And what are they going to do with it all? Well, to tell you the truth, their main goal is to sell tiny ads that show up on every screen you look at, or to make and sell all the screens you look at so that those ads can show up on them.
There’s nothing wrong with any of these things. These businesses were started to make money, and boy, are they making a lot of it! But we have the right as consumers and fellow citizens to ask if they could do more. We have the right to ask, “Shouldn’t they do more to help society as a whole if they can?” What is their role in the community?
If any of us sees someone in need and believes we can assist, we do so.If we are strong enough, we speak up when we see a wrong being done. These tech giants know a lot about each and every one of us. They collect a lot of information about all of us that can show what the real problems in society are. They know where people are sick, where the water is bad, and where children are going hungry. In short, they know more about everything than anyone else ever has. This is largely because these companies use data and AI to their advantage.
So, yes, we can ask them to do more, and we should.
Why don’t they do more at this point?
You can see why big tech would ask us why they should ever change the way they do business. In the third quarter of 2020, when a pandemic was ravaging America and two political parties were fighting online to tear each other apart, Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, and Facebook made a net profit of $38 billion. For society to move past the precipice we are on over the abyss of civil war,
these big tech companies will have to change the way they think about everything, which won’t be easy. Big tech needs to change its focus from short-term growth at any cost to long-term growth with a purpose. As in any business, their lack of vision keeps them running in the same small circle over and over again, chasing the same sugar high. They don’t zoom out to see the bigger picture and how their actions affect everyone. Tech giants don’t do things like slow down. But if they do, they can still make huge amounts of money and help everyone.
How to get started
Global technology companies have shown that they are the ones who connect people in unserved and underserved areas of the world and come up with new ways to use technology. In the last 10–15 years, this has been a huge step forward for these parts of the world. Big tech has helped us all get connected, stay informed, and know what’s going on. But we can and should do more.
It’s not enough for a business to just focus on being more efficient or making the customer experience better. They need to focus on social innovation if they want to make a positive difference in the world. Digital technologies aren’t just software tools; they are also powerful weapons that can help the economy grow, cause civil unrest, and threaten our freedom at the same time. Technology companies bear a special obligation to the people who have purchased their products, clicked on their advertisements, and used their technology to build businesses and ways of life.
Unchecked algorithms and skewed data can cause real physical harm.
Changes need to be made to both the data and the AI algorithms. We’ve learned that Facebook recommendations lead a lot of people to become radicalized and join terror groups. The platform needs to use and adapt more intelligence to tell the difference between a book club group you might want to join and a group of conspiracy theorists who want to burn it all down. The platforms don’t bother to use AI-driven technology to make sure that only real people have accounts and that feeds aren’t full of fake commenters.
The research is shocking because it shows that 64% of all people who join extremist groups do so because of tools on Facebook. The algorithm is doing what it was made to do, which is to keep people on the platform so that more ads can be shown to them and the company can make more money. But now we know that the price is being paid in American blood.
Every new technology, from sailing to steam to telegraphs to railroads to atomic energy to aviation to space flight to biology to communication science, is eventually used to make weapons. There will always be a crazy person or group that thinks technology leads to violence instead of making people’s lives better.
Almost all of the science that led to what we now call “Big Tech” came from US government research labs and programs like DARPA run by the defence department. So, why should you be surprised when a system made for social interaction is turned into a platform for command, control, and communication? We must, however, ask these tech giants to take responsibility for how their products are used.