Larry Downes is a senior industry and innovation fellow at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. He is the author of various books on the Internet and business.
Andrew Keen finds himself in the hot seat, in the edition of Innovate 2018.
The new book of Keen, “How to Fix the Future”, was published earlier this month, discusses a moment when it has immediately become fashionable for tech luminaries to abandon utopianism in favor of its opposite.
The first generation of IPO winners have now become some of tech’s most vocal critic—conveniently of new products and services launched by a younger generation of entrepreneurs.
For example, Tesla’s Elon Musk says, advances in Artificial Intelligence present a “fundamental risk to the existence of civilization.”
Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce believes Facebook ought to be regulated like a tobacco company because social media has become (literally?) carcinogenic and Russian zillionaire George Soros last week called Google “a menace to society.”
Eschewing much of the over-the-top luddism that at present fills the New York Times (“Silicon Valley is Not Your Friends”), the Guardian (“The Tech Insiders Who Fear a Smartphone Dystopia”), and other mainstream media outlets, Keen proffers practical solutions to a wide range of tech-related woes. These consist of persistent public and private surveillance, labor displacement, and fake news.
From experiments,Keen distills the following five tools for fixing the future in Estonia, Switzerland, Singapore, India and other digital outposts.
Targeted philanthropy from tech’s leading moneymakers
Increased regulation, particularly through antitrust law
New innovations designed to solve the unintended side-effects of earlier disruptors
Educational systems geared for 21st century life
Modern social safety nets for displaced workers and disenfranchised consumers
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