The Need To Regulate Big Tech - Part 1: Protecting The People From Pernicious Manipulation | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

The Need To Regulate Big Tech - Part 1: Protecting The People From Pernicious Manipulation

We had a slew of spectacular Big Tech results this week, but has the time come to regulate them more closely to avoid increasingly monopolistic behaviour, and to protect the population from the pernicious effect of the manipulation of big data? It’s as much an argument about the role of the state as it is about the success of companies. There will be winners and losers.

As always there is lots going on in markets, but the run of superb Tech results has been truly spectacular. Many tech firms have successfully navigated the Pandemic, selling into bored WFH workers, and achieved staggering success. Let’s use the moment to ponder the difficult question of how should we value Tech, and should it be more thoroughly regulated?

To the upside, new value and economic growth is created from new ideas creating new demand and markets. Invention leads to innovation – which is why everyone is so over-excited about the swift adoption potential of AI, Virtual Reality, 3-D printing, Meatless meat, Robotics, autonomous systems from drones to cars and all the other wonderful things we read about in the new tech space. The companies trade on extraordinary multiples based on their perceived potential – and is often exaggerated.

In real reality, (as opposed to virtual), these ideas are often brilliant solutions in search of problems; they take time, effort, and travel many wrong paths on the road to monetisation. We see that repeatedly in the miserable negative profits generated by so many tech unicorns that promised so much. Some stuff works. Much doesn’t.

There is nothing wrong with the Tech adoption process. The massive personal rewards Tech entrepreneurs can make for themselves is a major reason why the West is so innovative. Long may it be encouraged.