Scenarioplanning - social futures



The Big Nine

Webb, Amy (2019) The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity. PublicAffairs. ... ... 

Amy Webb has written a call-to-arms about the broken nature of artificial intelligence, and the powerful corporations that are turning the human-machine relationship on its head. AI’s destiny is in the control of nine big corporations in the U.S. and China. The American portion of the Big Nine—Amazon, Google, Apple, IBM, Microsoft and Facebook—have big ideas about how to solve some of humanity’s greatest challenges, but they’re beholden to the whims of Wall Street and have only a transactional relationship with Washington. Meanwhile, China’s portion—Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent—are very much tethered to Beijing and the demands of the Chinese Communist Party. All of us are caught in the middle, as our data are mined and refined in service of building the future of AI. ... 


Introduction: Before It’s Too Late

Part I: Ghosts in the Machine
1 Mind and Machine: A Very Brief History of AI
2 The Insular World of AI’s Tribes
3 A Thousand Paper Cuts: AI’s Unintended Consequences

Part II: Our Futures
4 From Here to Artificial Superintelligence: The Warning Signs
5 Thriving in the Third Age of Computing: The Optimistic Scenario
6 Learning to Live with Millions of Paper Cuts: The Pragmatic Scenario
7 The Réngōng Zhìnéng Dynasty: The Catastrophic Scenario

Part III: Solving the Problems  
8 Pebbles and Boulders: How to Fix AI’s Future Acknowledgments 

Video: Amy Webb, "The Big Nine" ... 

Amy Webb 2019: How can we design AI for the best long-term interests of humanity?   
Pebbles and Boulders: How to Fix AI’s Future Acknowledgments
... Vint Cerf ... uses a parable to explain why courageous leadership is vitally important in the wake of emerging technologies: 
Imagine that you are living in a tiny community at the base of a valley that’s surrounded by mountains. At the top of a distant mountain is a giant boulder. ...  Then one day, you notice that the giant boulder looks unstable ... But then you realize that if you can find a pebble and put it in the right spot, it will slow the boulder’s momentum and divert it just a bit.
... The Big Nine are under intense pressure — from Wall Street in the United States and Beijing in China .
Six are in the US, and I call them the G-MAFIA: Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, IBM and Apple.
Three are in China, and they are the BAT: Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent.
... while the G-MAFIA must answer to ill-advised market demands. There is no standard for transparency ... ... 

Amy Webb

Big 5

Tech’s ‘Frightful 5’ Will Dominate Digital Life for Foreseeable Future
By Farhad Manjoo 2016 
There are currently four undisputed rulers of the consumer technology industry: Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, now a unit of a parent company called Alphabet. And there’s one more, Microsoft, whose influence once looked on the wane, but which is now rebounding. ... 

Monopoly and Antitrust

Why Do the Biggest Companies Keep Getting Bigger?
It’s How They Spend on Tech - The secret of success for Amazon, Google and Microsoft is how much they invest in their own technology
... When you compare the top-performing firms in any sector to their lesser competition, there’s a gap in productivity growth that continues to widen, she says. The result is, if not quite a “winner take all” economy, then at least a “winner take most” one.
... What we see now is “a slowdown in what we call the ‘diffusion machine,’” says Dr. Calligaris.
... Mr. Bessen: While in the past it might have been possible to license, steal or copy someone else’s technology, these days that technology can’t be separated from the systems of which it’s a part.
...  it’s worth asking whether modern information technology has built in a kind of natural law that says we’re destined to buy all our goods and services from just a handful of ultra-giants, ... 

Tech’s Titans Tiptoe Toward Monopoly
Amazon, Facebook and Google may be repeating the history of steel, utility, rail and telegraph empires past—while Apple appears vulnerable ... 

The Antitrust Case Against Facebook, Google and Amazon 
A few technology giants dominate their worlds just as Standard Oil and AT&T once did. Should they be broken up? ... 

The Theory of Monopoly Capitalism 
John Bellamy Foster. New edition, Monthly Review Press 2014.  (1. ed. 1986). 
Case: iPhone production in China in 2009, p. xxxiii ...