Internet has become the omnipresent resource that it equally vital as any other resource like shelter, food or water. It is difficult to imagine even a single day without the internet. Internet has brought the world closer and now people can access things easily and at a very low cost. It has opened a opportunity box for people living in far-flung areas of the globe, democratized education and made accessible the resources which were only reserved for the elites.
As Bill Gates once said “Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow”, Internet has become the reality of today’s society. But there are a lot of downsides associated with this everywhere-present resource which is harming us in more ways than we realize. This book I am going to review today which is titled “The Internal Ideology”,written by Massimo Moruzzi presents a lot of cases wherein the internet presents an alarming threat to our world.
It was a short and interesting read and the propositions made by Moruzzi are substantial to make us think if everything being marketed as an absolute necessity, even worth caring? I am grateful to Moruzzi for being generous enough to give us a copy for review.
About the author
Massimo studied Politics and Sociology in Milan. He went on to work with different start-ups across the globe including Germany (Ciao.com); France (Meetic); Italy (Ennunci); Sweden (Twingly); Italy/Ireland (Zzub); Denmark (Atosho); Spain (Ducksboard); and Canada (Transit App).
He has been very critical of online advertising from the starting, and started a blog at dotcoma.it well before it was fashionable to do so, in 2001. He wrote a book on the web, advertising and social media: What Happened To Advertising? What Would Gossage Do? He is troubled by Silicon Valley’s attempt to colonies the whole world: cities (smart cities), public transportation (Uber etc), every gadget (Internet of Things) etc, hence he wrote the new short book The Internet Ideology: From A as in Advertising to Z as in Zipcar.
Premise of the book
The book contains several short chapters on different arenas where Internet has become an all-pervasive resource but Moruzzi provides an alternate viewpoint stressing on the fact that things are not rosy as they look. He has covered arenas from A in advertising to Z in Zipcar. He discusses about data and its disadvantages in great detail across chapters. I am going to cover two important themes from the book in this post. To read more themes, please read the book.
“Advertising is a public promise made to a large group of people.
Which is not what happens on the Internet, where hyper-targeting means that we have no idea if the same message and promise is being made to other people or not.”
The ways and means of advertising and marketing have been completely overhauled in the era of Internet. There has been issues from both the customers and companies’ side. You see ads of every single thing that you google and would like to buy on all your social media accounts. This sense of targeted ads is not just irritating at times, it shows how your preferences, choices and timing is being used to target even more ads. Companies are at equal loss because they usually go through the route of Google and Facebook like big giants which own most of the data and hence, earn the most!
Also read: How Internet is harming deep work
E-commerce has been burgeoning in recent times with millions of funding and basically dismantling local businesses which provided livelihood to so many people. These businesses provide discounts but also collect your data which they use for selling more products or targeted advertising. Their employees are usually not covered under any social security schemes.
Who benefits from all this?
Only the large corporations!
Data is the new oil!
Data Science and Analytics are considered the technologies that will shape the future.
But is Data the panacea of all problems we currently have? Massimo doubts!
The Data is being used by large corporations for their profits rather than solving problems which are deeper and require immediate solution. It is in so much vogue these days that people seem to think that Data Science can solve each and every problem across the globe. An interesting case has been shared by the author:
When a 25 year-old dude who looked like the singer of punk rock band Green Day killed 12 people in a movie theater in Colorado, what did newspapers do? Did they campaign to make it harder to buy assault weapons than to buy a can of beer in a supermarket?
Neah. The venerable Wall Street Journal asked: “Can data mining stop the killing?”
With Data comes the issue of privacy which is often neglected. It is neglected more in the case of poor and vulnerable which are always at the receiving end and privacy for them is considered a luxury rather than a necessity. There are multitudes of news reports about data breaches and data being sold in the dark web. Such kind of incidents will not remain isolated as we gather and process more data. It is time we start thinking how data needs to be handled.
Internet of things is the latest tool in the hands of multinationals to collect even more data and use them against you to reap more profits. This is the ideology of Internet. This is how it works!
I really liked the idea of the book and the way it used words to raise some uncomfortable yet necessary questions that need an answer. The propositions made in the book were good. However, the book is very small to convince the readers to form an opinion based on writer’s thoughts. I expected to read more with a more multi-dimensional approach. It is quick read, no doubt, but when you read a book of current state of affairs, you want more elaboration and substantiation.
Hoping to read more from the author.
I hope you all are keeping well in these tough times!