Digital Power and Its Discontents

The talk will explore the nature of power in the digital age. It will uncover the mismatch that exists between the optimistic picture of the future drawn by Big Tech and the actual consequences of concentrating so much power in the hands of just a few highly centralized companies.  Big Tech’s rosy take on the future overstates the stability and predictability of the digital economy; it’s actually highly stable, subject to uncertain competitive dynamics between American and Chinese tech giants – it very well may be that the last 10 years, with promises of free products and services in exchange for customer data, we’re just a temporary “truce” that will unravel soon, with drastic consequences. There’s, however, a way to reclaim power in the digital age and redistribute it more fairly among all of society; decentralization of various infrastructures backed by clever government policy is the step in the right direction. In the meantime, individual organizations will have to be more strategic in setting and steering their own digital path; entrusting everything to Big Tech is no longer an option in the benefit of their own stakeholders.