Once admired and revered, there seems to be a change in the air for Silicon Valley. BuzzFeed News looks into the newest trend in American politics: the turn against the tech industry. Maybe its the unaccountable power or maybe it is something else, but the transformation is likely to have major consequences on the tech industry as well as on American politics as a whole, BuzzFeed writes.
The turn did not happen overnight, but it has accelerated recently. Bernie Sanders and Steve Bannon surprisingly agree on something, which is that big tech should be treated as (in Bannon’s words) “public utilities.” Rupert Murdoch also agrees and so does the group No Labels, a poll-tested effort to create a safe new center, reports Buzzfeed.
The tech industry argues that growth and transformation are “public good” but often sit on the less popular side of issues like automation and inequality. It seems like both sides of the political parties in the U.S. can agree that parts of the big tech industry are wrong, though they disagree on what parts. For example, nationalists see an issue with the consolidation of power over speech and ideas “by social liberals and globalists,” writes BuzzFeed, while the left takes issue with consolidated corporate power.
Recently, big tech made headlines when New America, a think tank funded by Google, ousted a group when their leader praised a fine levied on Google.
BuzzFeed says that the big tech companies have had an “amazing run” until this point. Some of the brands define consumer culture in America, like Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple. They were widely popular and truly global. They also all helped politics in America get to the level where they are, mainly because the companies spent tons of money on lobbying.
Uber is a good example of the changing mindset about big tech. Their model was new and well used. But then, news about their toxic frat-like culture broke, and they suddenly had an incredibly negative reputation. However, BuzzFeed writes, that culture is what Microsoft was once admired for, it was a pure extension of “Silicon Valley’s cliches.” But now, the American narrative has changed. More people are paying attention to — and care about — inequality among minorities and women, making Uber’s culture not easy to brush past.
No other group in Silicon Valley has fallen as hard as Uber, but BuzzFeed writes they all might soon, and that you can “see the tracks laid for each of the tech giants.” And unfortunately for them, there may be no clear way to get off those tracks. This doesn’t mean that Google or Facebook are going to disappear. Uber hasn’t, and in fact, has grown since the bad press. But BuzzFeed writes that the “golden age” is over the tech giants, and the new era might not be as comfortable for them.
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