December 8, 2020 - 9:00am PST

EFF Special Advisor Cory Doctorow speaks to the Norwegian Unix Users' Group on the theme of Surveillance Capitalism and monopolies:

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and the claim that Big Tech can use big data to bypass our cognitive faculties is a doozy. Whether the claim is being made by big tech or its critics, it's pretty thin, and if you're a tech critic, it's a kind of backhanded compliment: even if Big Tech is being run by evil geniuses, at least they're still geniuses.

There's a more parsimonious explanation: Big Tech are mediocre monopolists, engaged in the same deep-pocketed moneyball that allowed their robber-baron forebears to corner entire sectors of the economy. If that's true, then we have a range of options that don't require safeguarding the alleged mind-control rays hidden in their data centers.