With the Internet about to celebrate its fiftieth birthday, there’s no doubt that digital revolution and the disruptive businesses that it’s empowering, has transformed the world profoundly. But has the Internet – which is now disrupting industries as disparate as media, transportation, healthcare, finance, education and commerce – actually benefitted society?
In my upcoming new book, The Internet Is Not the Answer, I argue that the networked revolution has, so far, been an enormous failure. So here are ten reasons why the Internet is not the answer.
Rather than redistributing power and wealth, it has created supersized 21st century monopolists like Amazon & Google.
Instead of creating jobs, it has created $19 billion Internet startups like WeChat that only employ 55 people.
As the Snowden NSA leaks have revealed, rather than creating a healthily transparent society, it is is destroying our privacy and enabling both governments and private companies to spy on us all the time.
Rather than democratizing wealth, the Silicon Valley economy of multi billion dollar startups like Airbnb is compounding the chasm between rich and poor.
Rather than a cultural renaissance, Online piracy and the “free” content of the blogosphere and social media have decimated the music, newspaper, photography and book industries.
Rather than advancing democracy, anonymous networks like Reddit and 4Chan have empowered the rule of the mob.
Rather than improving tolerance, self-broadcasting networks like Twitter and Facebook are compounding an online pandemic of racism, sexism and bullying.
Rather than a cultural renaissance, it has sparked an selfie-centric era of invidious narcissism on networks like Instagram.
The so-called “sharing economy” of networks is actually the selfish economy of ethically challenged entrepreneurs like Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.
It puts us all to “work” in “data factories” like Tumblr and Pinterest for free as they grow rich from the data we provide them about ourselves every day.