Noam Chomsky: Can civilisation survive really existing capitalism? UCD Philosophy Society Inaugural Lecture 2013 Full story: http://www.ucd.ie/news/2013/04APR13/0… One of the world’s leading intellectuals and political activists, Professor Noam Chomsky has been awarded the UCD Ulysses Medal, the highest honour that University College Dublin can bestow. The award was inaugurated in 2005, as part of the university’s sesquicentennial celebrations, to highlight the ‘creative brilliance’ of UCD alumnus James Joyce. It is awarded to individuals whose work has made an outstanding global contribution. Professor Chomsky was presented with the UCD Ulysses Medal by the President of UCD, Dr Hugh Brady, following a public lecture hosted by the UCD Philosophy Society and the UCD School of Philosophy at University College Dublin on Tuesday 02 April 2013.
This video is a major departure from the usual content on my channel, but I think it’s necessary. This particular moment in American and world history demands that we all take an honest look at the trajectory of the United States of America. The current system is untenable and the Coronavirus pandemic has laid bare how truly ill-prepared the country is to protect its citizens. When corporations and the ultra-wealthy are the primary concern of those in power, the majority will suffer. This video is my attempt to contribute some small amount to the national conversation about what America is, and what it needs to become.
Rising inequality and growing political instability are the direct result of decades of bad economic theory, says entrepreneur Nick Hanauer. In a visionary talk, he dismantles the mantra that “greed is good” — an idea he describes as not only morally corrosive, but also scientifically wrong — and lays out a new theory of economics powered by reciprocity and cooperation. The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more. You’re welcome to link to or embed these videos, forward them to others and share these ideas with people you know. For more information on using TED for commercial purposes (e.g. employee learning, in a film or online course), please submit a Media Request here: https://media-requests.ted.com/
Surveillance capitalism sucks: it improves the scattershot, low-performance success-rate of untargeted advertising (well below 1 percent) and doubles or triples it (to well below 1 percent!).
But surveillance captialism is still dangerous: all those dossiers on the personal lives of whole populations can be used for blackmail, identity theft and political manipulation. As I explain in my new Locus column, Cory Doctorow: Zuck’s Empire of Oily Rags, Facebook’s secret is that they’ve found a way to turn a profit on an incredibly low-yield resource — like figuring out how to make low-grade crude out of the oil left over from oily rags.
But because the margins on surveillance data are so poor, the business is only sustainable if it fails to take the kinds of prudent precautions that would make it safe to warehouse these unimaginably gigantic piles of oily rags.
It’s as though Mark Zuckerberg woke up one morning and realized that the oily rags he’d been accumulating in his garage could be refined for an extremely low-grade, low-value crude oil. No one would pay very much for this oil, but there were a lot of oily rags, and provided no one asked him to pay for the inevitable horrific fires that would result from filling the world’s garages with oily rags, he could turn a tidy profit.
A decade later, everything is on fire and we’re trying to tell Zuck and his friends that they’re going to need to pay for the damage and install the kinds of fire-suppression gear that anyone storing oily rags should have invested in from the beginning, and the commercial surveillance industry is absolutely unwilling to contemplate anything of the sort.
That’s because dossiers on billions of people hold the power to wreak almost unimaginable harm, and yet, each dossier brings in just a few dollars a year. For commercial surveillance to be cost effective, it has to socialize all the risks associated with mass surveillance and privatize all the gains.
There’s an old-fashioned word for this: corruption. In corrupt systems, a few bad actors cost everyone else billions in order to bring in millions – the savings a factory can realize from dumping pollution in the water supply are much smaller than the costs we all bear from being poisoned by effluent. But the costs are widely diffused while the gains are tightly concentrated, so the beneficiaries of corruption can always outspend their victims to stay clear.
Facebook doesn’t have a mind-control problem, it has a corruption problem. Cambridge Analytica didn’t convince decent people to become racists; they convinced racists to become voters.
Cory Doctorow: Zuck’s Empire of Oily Rags [Cory Doctorow/Locus]
(Image: Jason McELweenie, CC-BY; Ppari, CC-BY-SA)