"We are in the middle of a digital revolution", writes the Norwegian political scientist Hilde Nagell in the introduction to her book Digital Revolution. The book is an extension of a number of international publications, all of which emphasize that we are in the midst of a time of upheaval, where artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT) and Big Data will fundamentally change our lives and everyday lives: «Soon the self-driving bus will pick get up wherever you are and go when the passengers want to leave. " The image of the future is well known, a self-driving bus in a «smart» city.
But what when public transport is operated by private multinationals competing for market share in an increasingly deregulated platform economy? What if a nation's critical infrastructure – and Nagell makes a strong argument that the Internet should be included in this category, in line with eg water and electricity – is sold to the highest bidding commercial player, who then achieves monopoly-like status and can freely «set conditions for among other uses and prices »?
Nagell's stated mission with the book is to take back power and democratic control from the technology giants that define the global digital rules of the game: "In the United States, a few technology companies have grown dominant without much government intervention or regulation. Over the past ten years, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Google (Alphabet) have come together at the top of the list. While many companies are struggling financially after the corona outbreak, they increased their earnings. The total market value of these four companies was a staggering $ 500 billion. "
The four tech giants
For Nagell, the growing concentration of power and capital among private actors is a worrying aspect of the digital revolution. But in terms of the overall size of the four tech giants, Norwegian Nagell has a trump card up its sleeve, because «by comparison, the Norwegian Petroleum Fund. . .
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