We are at an interesting time in how we handle our personal data. This is an op-ed, not exactly breaking news but related to it.
Following a 16-month congressional investigation into Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, Big Tech has been accused of wielding monopoly power.
The House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust recommends several ways for Congress to rewrite antitrust laws so they apply to the Big Tech companies Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. But this won’t stop the same companies from getting their hands on our medical and personal bio-genetic data.
Apple brings Health Records to iPhone in the UK and Canada
Apple hasadded support for the Health Records feature of its Health app on iPhones in two new markets. US tech companies have faced increased scrutiny in Washington over their size and power in recent years, but lawmakers, regulators and politicians still turn a blind eye to how they will become even more powerful.
The investigation by the House Judiciary Committee is just one of multiple probes firms such as Facebook and Apple are facing as countries like Australia and Europe in general want to regulate how Google and company does business in their areas.
The report says the tech giants “run the marketplace while also competing in it” and compares them to the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons. Meanwhile, the 1% have become around 25% richer during the Pandemic crisis, basically profiteering on public misfortune.
Apple’s electronic medical records (EMR) feature originally debuted in the U.S. in 2018, and the company says that it’s now supported by more than 500 institutions across that country. Amazon, Google and others are pushing into health as well which will be a lucrative field making these corporations even more powerful. They will have even greater access to our data and privacy medical information.
We will give our medical data away for free. America doesn’t really care about anti-trust, which makes the Chinese so much more prone to cloning them. All of this accelerates an AI-arms race. The report however outlines an “abuses of monopoly power” in a 449 page report released Tuesday.
Even though Democrats and Republicans are in broad agreement that the tech titans have monopoly power, party differences on how to fix the problem make it doubtful sweeping regulation will come to pass, not to mention BigTech lobbying Washington with great efficacy. America is becoming more corrupt where it matters the most, how the future will shape our lives.
America’s biggest technology companies have leveraged their dominance to stamp out competition and stifle innovation. This will allow China to overtake the U.S. in innovation, if this has not already occurred. Apple is creating a lucrative moat with services and subscriptions, but in the end there won’t be as many American super-corporations left to compete globally with the Chinese tech dynasty.
Silicon Valley is failing and its moral failures will help usher in the new era of AI, how our health data is leveraged, and freedom online.
The pandemic is a great example. Donald Trump doesn’t tell you that spreading the Pandemic was actually good for his rich friends. Billionaires’ wealth has risen to $10.2 trillion amid Covid crisis. This is an example of how a few business leaders will warp humanity’s status quo of how capitalism, democracy, equality and freedom work in the future.
Health Records on iPhone requires institutional support, but can provide a high degree of individual ownership of health data, as well as a means of making sure that data is portable and can follow a patient to integrate with a variety of care facilities and providers. Of course Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft will use AI in healthcare to benefit patients and their care, but what will happen to the data really? Do you think people will actually have control of their own bodies and health data in the future?
A report by Swiss bank UBS found that billionaires increased their wealth by more than a quarter (27.5%) at the height of the crisis from April to July, just as millions of people around the world lost their jobs or were struggling to get by on government schemes. This is a bad omen to what happens when anti-trust regulation is broken, and a foretelling of how Chinese giants in the future will do the same, with superior AI.
Tech giants have skirted regulation because of how monopolies are defined by law. Democrats now want to rewrite those laws, but it is too late. The Googles and Facebooks have created a more polluted world where scams of digital advertising business models have perverted the internet. The American internet is a failure in 2020. It’s a failed experiment, that made a few people richer.
If Apple will both operate the biggest digital health care market in the world, whilst controlling which providers and payers have access to patients’ medical records, that’s not necessarily a better world. If Google’s AI can predict your health before it even happens, will that create happier people? BigTech is not even regulated properly, unable to self-regulate and have employees that don’t make ethical decisions over product monetization pressures.
We’ll give our health and mental health data away freely, just like we did the rest of our data. The result leaves little confidence that any major regulation could come soon. It’s been about four years since lawmakers began scrutinizing the tech industry for its disruptive role in industries ranging from the media to retail, yet no legislation regulating the industry has been passed.
Congress has failed to regulate Silicon Valley, and now the Chinese will gradually replace them. This single thing will lead invariably do the downfall of the American superpower.
What a wonderful world BigTech is building for us. A world where greed trumps equality, and new features are gamed against us. A world where our own bodies don’t even belong to us, because the data about them is in the hands of various third parties. As biotech and AI evolve, that’s not a world where AI is used exclusively for well-being, for good or for the real concerns of patients. What do you think?