The Fight for Control
Another peek into the near future
There is a growing threat to a way of life as well as governance from the modern tech industries. This threat is evident in several areas.
It has traditionally been the case that governments have controlled the money system and the money supply. That control is beginning to slip and slide. On the one hand they are within a few years of controlling it completely. On the other hand there is growing competition from competing money systems.
On the one hand governments are close to rolling out digital currencies which seem to indicate a complete control of how money is obtained and how it is spent, while on the other hand we already have digital coins that are based on distributed networks that are nothing to do with governments.
How these competing systems will work together is at present unknown. I think it is going to be very difficult to have complete control over money, and such complete control by any one entity would lead to a totally unstable situation. One only has to look at what is going on with currencies currently controlled by governments to see what a mess they are in. Governments should ideally have no control over money whatever. I am hoping that currencies based on blockchain technology will find a role as competing technologies and may the most useful and stable survive to be used by the public. Governments need to be on a very tight rein when it comes to money. They have over time shown themselves generally unfit to be in charge of any kind of money.
It seems that the more inefficient governments are becoming, the more efficient companies are. Currently we are seeing the rise of the mega tech corporations.
There are already several companies that are worth more than one trillion dollars. That puts them on a par with rather a lot of countries, and they are certainly worth more than most.
The figures do jump around quite a bit depending on the state of economies, but the top five countries on the planet generally speaking have economies worth close to or more than five trillion dollars. No companies can yet rival those figures, but when we drop below the top five economies things start to look very different. In the US there are several companies worth north of a trillion dollars. That puts them well into the top twenty economies on the planet. So far none of them has a seat at the table of the G7 club, or even the G20 club. But how long before perhaps they should have? Or is that not the way things are going? Are we seeing the beginning of a new economic order, which also may mean a new social order and a new financial/political order?
Already we are seeing the manipulation of news, and access denied or restricted to news channels by several tech companies that have a far reach. Facebook (or whatever it is called these days) has roughly a third of the planet's population as regular users. That's some reach, and that's well beyond the capabilities of any other country.
This company has already made two attempts to issue its own currency. Ultimately, what is to stop it insisting on its users dealing with the company by using the company's own money? The company is beyond political boundaries. It is also a thriving business community even despite the current crash in popularity. We have already noted that time and place in the digital domain operates differently from the physical. We have also noted that when we are talking about digital entities, we find they are more difficult to pin down than physical ones, and their characteristics have an irritating habit of changing over time.
Time? What's that?
That has already been messed with by digitalisation, but how about my persona?
We are within a year or two of being able to create avatars of ourselves, and put those avatars into different digital situations. Are we talking different personas here? Are these avatars extensions of ourselves? Or are we going to be able to create several slightly different, or indeed very different digital versions of ourselves?
We most certainly have a lot of philosophical conundrums to come to grips with over the coming years. The schools of philosophy should be gearing up for a bonanza in the number of questions needing a theoretical and a practical answer.
We have already seen how one of these tech companies, Google, has entered the educational market, by providing students with carefully tailored courses which can be taken over a considerably reduced time-frame and at a substantially lower price than courses provided by government institutions. Will there be more of these tightly structured topics in the future? Will governments find themselves trailing in the education stakes while providing something that nobody is going to find useful?
Will education become so targeted that it ceases to be what we used to call education? Gaining an education isn't the same as gaining a skill. Will an education become a luxury?
One thing is becoming abundantly clear, and that is that governments are behind the curve, and in the matter of education they are trailing quite considerably. The real question is, however, are companies about to take over some of the tasks governments have in the past traditionally provided?
Are some companies going to break out of the traditional domiciles and turn into territories of their own? After all, we are entering the digital age. A digital entity does not sit comfortably into a particular space. It exists wherever the computer code seeks to express itself.
I have already highlighted the fact that time and place are taking on non-traditional dimensions. The rise of metaverses is going to hasten that development. Will this diminish the power of governments even more? Will it lead to even more muzzling of the truth and resultant confusion for so many of us? Or will we end up with competing truths, with people fleeing to a metaverse that proposes their favourite truth? At this time we cannot tell, but we are at the forefront of massive changes that will mess quite considerably with our brains?