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Why we need to stop idolizing big tech

The provocative NYU Stern School of Business marketing professor and author of ‘The Algebra of Happiness’ argues that internet giants need to be cut down to size.

Why we need to stop idolizing big tech
Scott Galloway [Photo: Jai Lennard; Hair and makeup: Ryu at Halley Resources for Clarks Botanicals]

It used to be, if somebody went off the rails, one of your kids, you’d immediately start praying. Now it’s Google. Google literally is our God. You trust Google more than any priest, rabbi, scholar, mentor, or boss. It knows if you’re thinking about getting divorced. It knows what STDs you have. It knows if you’re worried that you’re borderline or bipolar. You don’t tell this shit to your wife or your husband. [If] you type in “how to overthrow your government,” is the first piece of content you see a voter registration form or an instruction manual on how to build a dirty bomb? And we have one company that decides that 93% of the time, and they won’t tell us how they fashioned these algorithms and if there are any ethicists involved in the fashioning of these algorithms. I do believe there’s a solution. I think if you forced them to spin off YouTube, if you broke them up, at the first corporate strategy meeting of YouTube, these people who all want their own Gulfstreams would say, “What business should we go into? Let’s go into text-based search!” And in the first corporate strategy meeting of Google without YouTube, they go, “Let’s go into video search!” And one of those two companies, in an attempt to get P&G to continue to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on search, is going to say, “We’re not putting terrible content next to often-repeated queries from children.” The key is competition. I don’t think you can put the genie back in the bottle, but we have fallen into this very dangerous, numb complacency that the world is what it is. No, it’s not. The world is what we make of it.

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