@andreworlowski: Lucky Canada. Google chooses Toronto as site of posthuman urban lab. Town has an API, but no cars

[Editor Charlie sez: Welcome to the Goo town–the end of privacy.  This is how they force you to get rid of independent travel.]

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store

16 Tons, written by Merle Travis

Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs venture has chosen Toronto as its urban laboratory – one in which humans may ultimately be optional.

Sidewalk CEO Dan Doctoroff has fantasised how convenient a city would be without people.

Google won’t take over the entire city – at least not just yet. It’s opted to redevelop 12 acres of the the city’s waterfront, with 800 acres sitting idle next door – a space the size of Venice. Sidewalk describes it as “the first neighbourhood from the internet up” and “a neighbourhood built as an urban innovation platform”, one that will be “a fully Google-fied neighbourhood” in the words of WiReD mag, which admits that there’s an element of “Minority Report” dystopia to the plans.

Data rules in the Googlezone, with everything monitored and analysed. It’s what Google calls “the programmable public realm”.

“Building on a robust system of asset monitoring, Sidewalk can make areas of the public realm reservable for a wide range of temporary uses without impinging on the public’s overall needs,” the company burbles. Following the modern urban prejudice against automobiles, only self-driving vehicles (“taxibots” and “vanbots”) and car-sharing rides will be permitted in the Googlezone. But it will have an API.

Read the post on The Register

@noamcohen: Silicon Valley is Not Your Friend

Late last month, Mark Zuckerberg wrote a brief post on Facebook at the conclusion of Yom Kippur, asking his friends for forgiveness not just for his personal failures but also for his professional ones, especially “the ways my work was used to divide people rather than bring us together.” He was heeding the call of the Jewish Day of Atonement to take stock of the year just passed as he pledged that he would “work to do better.”

Such a somber, self-critical statement hasn’t been typical for the usually sunny Mr. Zuckerberg, who once exhorted his employees at Facebook to “move fast and break things.” In the past, why would Mr. Zuckerberg, or any of his peers, have felt the need to atone for what they did at the office? For making incredibly cool sites that seamlessly connect billions of people to their friends as well as to a global storehouse of knowledge?

Lately, however, the sins of Silicon Valley-led disruption have become impossible to ignore.

Facebook has endured a drip, drip of revelations concerning Russian operatives who used its platform to influence the 2016 presidential election by stirring up racist anger. Google had a similar role in carrying targeted, inflammatory messages during the election, and this summer, it appeared to play the heavy when an important liberal think tank, New America, cut ties with a prominent scholar who is critical of the power of digital monopolies. Some within the organization questioned whether he was dismissed to appease Google and its executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, both longstanding donors, though New America’s executive president and a Google representative denied a connection.

Meanwhile, Amazon, with its purchase of the Whole Foods supermarket chain and the construction of brick-and-mortar stores, pursues the breathtakingly lucrative strategy of parlaying a monopoly position online into an offline one, too.

Now that Google, Facebook, Amazon have become world dominators, the question of the hour is, can the public be convinced to see Silicon Valley as the wrecking ball that it is?

These menacing turns of events have been quite bewildering to the public, running counter to everything Silicon Valley had preached about itself.

Read the post on the New York Times

@jonathantaplin: Google Doesn’t Want What’s Best for Us

[Editor Charlie sez: Must read insight by Professor Jonathan Taplin on Google’s “surveillance capitalism”]

Google processes more than three billion search queries a day. It has altered our notions of privacy, tracking what we buy, what we search for online — and even our physical location at every moment of the day. Every business trying to reach mass-market consumer demand online knows that Google is the gatekeeper.

The fact that it is a monopoly, with an almost 90 percent share of the search advertising business, is a given that we have all come to accept. It’s Google’s world; we just live in it. So it matters how this company works — who it hires, who it fires and why.

When a company is dominant enough, it sets the tone for an entire era.

Read the post on The New York Times.

@andreworlowski: Trump meets Google – exclusive transcript

schmidt_maga_red_2

After meeting Kanye West, President-elect Trump will meet Google and other Silicon Valley leaders today. We’ve imagined how the conversation might go.

RUSHED TRANSCRIPT

TRUMP: So. Peter tells me you’re the smartest guys in America. How do you like the furniture?

PAGE: Very nice Mr President Elect.

TRUMP: Where’s the Russian?

PAGE: Sergey [Brin]?

TRUMP: Yes

SCHMIDT: Sir, the Secret Service detained him. We warned him not to try to get into Trump Tower wearing his Google Glass, but he won’t take them off. Well. We want to thank you for inviting us to Trump Tow—

TRUMP: Let’s just cut the crap. I know you did everything you could do get Hillary [Clinton] elected. I know you worked for Obama’s team, Eric [Schmidt]. I know you hate me and I don’t care. But you have 10 minutes to tell me what you want so I can figure out how useful you can be, and how much damage you can do. Go.

PAGE: Er, right. Well. Top of our agenda is ensuring that America’s wealth-creating technology companies – that’s us – have a vital supply of top technology talent.

SCHMIDT: Mr President, as I said two years ago, ‘we take very, very smart people, bring them into the country, give them a diploma and kick them out where they go on to create companies that compete with us’.

TRUMP: What happens to those companies they create?

SCHMIDT: We buy them and close them down. Or our VC friends close them down. As Peter Thiel says: Monopoly is good.

TRUMP: Well, hmmm.

SCHMIDT: Mr President, engineers are expensive, would you use the most expensive labour you could? Employers need to keep wages down.

TRUMP: Which of course I love. But you see, I just got elected on jobs. That’s how I won. I got 2 million fewer votes than Crooked Hillary, but I got them where it counted, right in her backyard. And you’ve created a two-caste economy. Maybe you can employ some American engineers?

SCHMIDT: Uh. In a global interconnected world, Sir, that would be…

TRUMP: Spare me the Thomas Friedman crap. You’re toxic. The DoJ said your cartel fixed wages for a million workers.

SCHMIDT: We’ve fixed the DoJ now, Sir. We run it.

Read the post on The Register

@apblake: Google ‘directly engaged’ with Clinton campaign, Julian Assange claims

Julian Assange accused Google’s top executives of colluding with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign during a media event Tuesday in Russia as the WikiLeaks founder rekindled concerns over two of his most frequent targets.

Speaking remotely from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, the Australian hacker-turned-whistleblower was addressing attendees at an international media forum in Moscow when he made the allegations about the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and one of Silicon Valley’s largest companies.

Google is directly engaged with Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” Mr. Assange claimed, according to Russian state-owned media.

Google “is intensely aligned with U.S. exceptionalism,” and its employees will likely be rewarded if Mrs. Clinton wins the presidential election come November, Mr. Assange added.

Individuals “at the top” of Google are personally involved with the Democrat’s campaign, and “almost certainly… will be placed into positions around the new Clinton presidency” if she ends up in the White House, Mr. Assange claimed.

“The chairman of Google, Eric Schmidt, set up a company to run the digital component of Hillary Clinton’s campaign,” Breitbart News quotedMr. Assange as saying.

Read the post on the Washington Times

rv-door-visulizatnoi-susan-molinari-1024x507

Source: Google Transparency Project