There has been a lot of news in the news over the past decade about great technology. Initially, coverage was focused on the new opportunities that have been created in the field of communication and information exchange and on the benefits that will bring. New technological networks have provided unique tools, offering everything from family reunification and immigration separation to helping to overthrow authoritarian regimes and restore power to the people.
Then we learned about the tremendous value that big technology creates by bringing in billions of dollars to founders, employees, and retirement funds who have invested in it. We knew they were a force for good in the world, not least because they hadn’t missed it. An opportunity to tell us this truth.
By the end of 2016, attitudes towards advanced technology had changed in the wake of the unexpected outcome of the US presidential election. Big Tech platforms are no longer tools for character development and self-expression; They soon became carts of hate and lies. In an instant, these campaigns seem to have gone from empathy to undesirable, from bastions of free expression to a weapon of malign interests and unwanted states to influence elections and spread false stories. The people who control the platforms have moved from defenders of freedom to comparing them to dictators. Journalists write that Big Tech now has more capital than many governments and more control over the voice than any media outlet – without any democratic checks and balances to curb their worst motivations.
The event highlighted how powerful large technology companies are today, and the need to assess how we define speech in today’s world and how it should be strengthened and regulated. This, in turn, refers to how the platforms that define speech are managed.
From decentralization to flow
To solve this problem, we need to study how the early Internet stimulated so much creativity in its early days. At the time, the Internet was decentralized in its own way, with each site providing its own space, resulting in a vast network of hyperlinked nodes. Some nodes were larger than others, but none were large enough to distort the landscape or require special regulation. The internet can be thought of as a great park to add to every additional site.
As both the network and the number of users grow, the need to organize and improve the efficiency of that network increases. Google took advantage of this by creating an algorithm that searches the Internet and returns results, and in the process launched a new Internet driven by algorithms. The content has been featured and sharply animated by algorithms in music (Spotify), news (Facebook and Twitter), and entertainment (Netflix). The park became a watercourse, and suddenly we were all under the influence of black box algorithms that we knew very little about.
It is this new, floating model of the Internet that has caused such a dramatic bias towards big technology. Big tech companies decide what content to share and what content to bring to market more often, considering what is most beneficial to the end result. Content control is described as moderation for those who agree and censors who disagree. The conversation is dominated by stronger voices that are often disproportionate in favor of large tech companies and traditional media — a small group with obvious bias.
Back to the decentralized internet
How to properly manage these huge platforms? The centralization of founders’ authority is very limited and conveys it slightly better to California officials and the Western media. Instead, we need to rethink the decentralized Internet of the past and see how we can recreate a period when so many old presidents look back with such nostalgia. Many argue that putting this genius back in the box is impossible given the tremendous economic value that centralization and increased accessibility of digital content provides.
Blockchain introduced decentralized corporate governance, enabling democratic decision-making for those with a chance of success. People buy governance codes online, such as the Yearn.finance suite of decentralized financial products, that give them a say in managing this ecosystem as well as maintaining independent value and / or profit. Decentralization can be applied to firms at an early stage, such as Yearn, or to a transition over time to a model, such as the DeFi Aave lender. This model generates profits, adjusts ownership strategy, and removes the agent’s underlying problem.