There was a time when American Big Tech was the end-all and be-all.
It seems those days are rapidly going the way of the dodo.
For sure, there will be many companies that survive – and even flourish.
But it’s becoming painfully obvious that certain political, social, and cultural influences are starting to crush innovation, cripple sales, and piss off a whole lot of ordinary folks…
Everything is Awesome
The West, led by the USA, has decided to impose harsh sanctions on… well, just about everyone. But the big news is, of course, the sanctions on China.
Apparently, the idea here is that this will “punish” China for stealing American tech and spying on us all and doing all kinds of other Evil Stuff That Red Commies Do™.
There’s only 1 problem: It’s not working.
When prevented from using American tech such as Google’s Android store, Huawei put some finishing touches on their own operating system known as Harmony OS.
While designed primarily for Internet of Things (IoT) devices, word has it that it will be fully “smartphone-ified” before Christmas.
That wouldn’t be surprising given the insane work ethic over yonder that puts even Silicon Valley to shame.
And how about components? No problem! China either has their own or is developing their own flavor of just about everything.
What you may not know is that Chinese companies started developing these technologies years ago. In other words, they saw this coming. Or if they didn’t, naturally it was their plan all along to challenge the tech giants. That’s just good old fashioned capitalism and healthy competition… right?
And as for American businesses and consumers, they’re in trouble. EVERYTHING is Made in China. You can’t penalize Chinese companies without hurting American companies – or consumers. For example, in 2018, General Motors sold more cars to China than they did to US buyers.
Not any more!
It’s nice to feel needed…
You may recall that it was the Soviets who launched the first satellite and put the first man into space.
You may also recall that while Western countries are talking about doing all kinds of cool things like going back to the moon and creating hypersonic weapons of epic destruction, Eastern countries are actually doing it.
Oh, I know, I know: That’s all just bluff and bluster right?
Sure, and so was Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin. So was Huawei’s $108 billion in revenue in 2018 (compare that to Google’s parent company Alphabet, Inc: $136 billion in 2018). Huawei, the #1 leader in 5G tech that everyone wants…
And those videos that Russia released of the weapons? Those must be fake!
Wait, you didn’t see those videos? Well, that’s not surprising. There’s a lot you don’t see these days…
I’m so offended
When confronted with an uncomfortable truth, our glorious “leaders” do one of three things:
- Blame Russia
- Blame China
- Take responsibility for their own F-ups and make things better
Just kidding about #3! That would require a soul – or possibly even just a simple spine. So, Door #1 or Door #2 it is!
So, what do you do when you’re a falling economic and military superpower and other countries are rising? Easy!
You blame everyone else for everything. That’ll keep people distracted.
Then, get everyone hating everyone else. Divide and conquer always works so well.
Of course, the above means you’re going to need to lock things down a bit. So you better get Facebook, Twitter, Google, and YouTube to prevent certain types of content – for everyone’s safety.
As one simple example, consider popular health resources online, some of which are run by friends of mine:
Don’t worry, it’s not censorship. Only Eastern countries does that. When we do it, we just call it something else…
AI to the rescue!
Ah, the algorithm. It makes everything go these days.
Too bad the algorithms are tweaked by humans. And too bad that certain algorithms, like the one Netflix uses to recommend content, are god-awful:
That’s just bad news. You see, if The Algorithm did it, then it’s not paid marketing or evil censorship. You can’t sue a mysterious algorithm, but you can certainly blame it for whatever goes wrong. But if people do the same work, well, it’ll be much harder to ignore.
In other words, they made machine learning algorithms to filter and recommend content to people. They worked pretty darn well, but didn’t give the results desired by the human managers.
So then they added some people into the mix to “help” the algorithms out. But even that didn’t work.
Thus, now we’re just gonna have armies of people “curating” news on Facebook, shows on Netflix, vids on YouTube, and search results on Google.
See, we must call it “curating”, because if we called it what it actually is, then we’d sound too much like those “Evil Red Chinese Commies”. And we can’t have that.
In the words of the theme song to the hit show Smallville…
“Somebody SAAAAAAAAVE me!”
Yes, it’s a brave new world.
I’m sure we’ll all survive. It’s not like the world is ending or anything – um, right?
But it might be a good idea to start taking a closer look at what’s actually happening… and why.
Even total chaos provides many opportunities for change.
Only question is: How many people will be pushing for something better, and how many will be either pushing for something worse and/or totally ignoring what’s really happening?
There is NO REASON why American Tech cannot continue to be a world leader. But that will never happen without cooperation, trust, and bridge building between the USA and other rising nations. And of course, a country that is divided internally has no chance on the world stage…
In any case, their success does not have to mean our failure – or vice versa.