Mega rich tech firms are a threat to democracy and could be ushering in a new age of authoritarianism, a very rich man has said.
Speaking at the wealthy folk knees-up World Economic Forum in Davos, the billionaire philanthropist George Soros slammed Facebook and Google as ‘obstacles to innovation,’ whose operations may lead to ‘a web of totalitarian control the likes of which not even Aldous Huxley or George Orwell could have imagined’. Blimey.
Soros told listeners in the Swiss town: ‘The power to shape people’s attention is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few companies.’ And this is very bad because there’s a chance that ‘once lost, people who grow up in the digital age will have difficulty in regaining it’.
And, apparently, social media firms manipulate users’ attention towards their commercial activities – which I would have thought was even obvious to isolated tribes living deep in the Amazonian forests by now.
But it wasn’t all bad: Mr Soros also cheerfully predicted the imminent downfall of the likes of Facebook, as the world’s tax agents start to go after them. Well, we’ll see about that, won’t we.
Then the hedge fund manager said that he and all the other billionaires should start finding ways to distribute their wealth more equally, and encourage mass participation in democracy by people from every corner of society – and then they all laughed for 10 minutes until the tears ran down the cheeks.