Woke Big Tech Launched a Crusade Against Free Speech


The technological revolution once promised a new era of expanded democracy and enhanced opportunity. Instead, we face today a reality that blends the worst aspects of George Orwell’s Big Brother and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World controllers.

Don’t believe me? Look to the launch of a recent version of Google’s Gemini AI, which produced black and female versions of Vikings, the founding fathers and even Nazi soldiers as historically correct. While comical for some, this seemed less to show the tech giant’s casual incompetence, but rather a deep-seated desire to reinvent reality along progressive lines.

It also reflects deeply entrenched bias in Google’s development team, who appear to see it as their mission to reshape society, and even the past, to fit their predilections. Gemini was ambivalent when asked whether Elon Musk or Adolph Hitler had a more negative effect on society – hardly the sort of reasoning one would expect from the supposed technology of the future.

If this was an isolated case, we could all enjoy a good laugh about the latest Californian lunacy. But this is hardly a one-off. Even before AI, staffers at Google, Facebook and Twitter share what could be likened to an ideological hivemind, curating content in a way some conservative lawmakers have suggested is discriminatory towards Right-wing views.

Former employees have suggested these companies algorithms intended to screen out “hate groups”, even though programmers often have trouble distinguishing between “hate groups” and those who might simply express dissenting but legitimate views.

Most dangerous of all, these big tech firms have become giant oligopolies with almost unlimited funds and a net worth greater than Canada, Russia, South Korea, Australia and Spain combined. Nor can we expect these firms to be tempered by traditional market capitalism.

Google and Apple account for nearly 90 per cent of all mobile browsers worldwide, while Microsoft by itself controls 90 per cent of all operating system software. Perhaps more ominously, two-thirds of the world’s cloud services – essential for AI – are controlled by Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

These geeky bad boys are essentially capturing not just the means of communication but control of content as well. They are becoming what Aldous Huxley called “a scientific caste system”. People like Jeff Bezos may see this as the “beginning of a Golden Age”, but it seems closer to what the French analyst Gaspard Koenig describes as “digital feudalism”.

AI looms as a force multiplier for these oligarchs. Already nearly two-thirds of US adults now get their news through social media like Facebook or Google. This is even more true among millennials, soon to be the nation’s largest voting bloc. Although the Gemini project is now being re-evaluated, we inevitably face AI bots that are more subtle and persuasive, particularly for a generation that reads little and knows even less.

Read the rest of this piece at Telegraph.

Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and and directs the Center for Demographics and Policy there. Learn more at joelkotkin.com and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.

Photo: Jimmy Baikovicius, via Flickr, under CC 2.0 License.