The Google God

Free market capitalism, in the time of high-tech communication technology, rewards the marketability of an idea more than the idea itself. Of course, in any liberal capitalist order, good ideas always needed to be noticed before their creator could be rewarded. Traditional investors recognized the potential of an idea for the betterment of society and decided to put money into it. There was a basic equality between ideas and the financiers that judged and nudged them. A good idea had a fair chance to become reality, because it was judged on the material basis of what good it would do for humanity.

When ideas are no longer judged by their merit, but their marketing potential, we relinquish the expert judgment to whatever the crowd thinks, and the crowd is subject to manipulation by the same forces that judge the ideas. There is no need for a precise portrayal of this dynamics: it is a race to the bottom, to the lowest common denominator idea. This in turn will reinforce the ‘dumbing down’ of society and embolden the corporations. They will be absolved from democratic accountability by sabotaging the basis of any working democracy: civil society with thriving discourse. They have the power turn democracy into a parade of strongly felt issues, infused with cynicism about the ‘powers that be’. True accountability will be replaced by political showmanship. We already see this happening in the wealthiest nations.

Renegade economist and rockstar academic Yannis Varoufakis said that capitalism has already been replaced by technological feudalism, Amazon and Google acting like feudal overlords. They de facto, if not de jure, control the marketplace: Google becoming a synonym of searching and Amazon another word for online shopping.

This totality of power cannot but seek a connection with religious thought: the divine right of Kings, the identification of Pharao with the most powerful god. What does this mean in the case of Big Tech? How does their totality of power act on our religious instincts. Could we measure with electrodes people’s response to Bezos’ monolyth and would we find a similar response as when people pray to an almighty god? Of course, Big Tech’s totality is not yet perceived as unavoidable. We don’t need to beg Google or Amazon to be using their services – or do we? Would we one day pray to the Google god for recognition by their algorithms, with very real consequences such as visibility in a global “charity” platform that could save our lives?

This is still the stuff of science fiction, but beware. We humans have a hard time grasping exponential growth, as the Covid-crisis demonstrated. We now witness the exponential growth of corporate power until they break the critical barrier and become, for all intents and purposes, power Totalities*.

The re-introduction of Religion as a fully conscious submission to a man-made higher power is completely in line with sound Hegelian dialectics. There will be a Google god, unless we resist while we can.

*Incidentally, I write about this in my latest novel, a parody on Elon Musk who gains near-total power until he hits not death, but the other unavoidable thing in life.

The Google God was originally published on Meandering home

July 31. Seven Trips.

I go out when my couch surfer goes to work and get back home when she is back too. I write in my favorite coffee place, caffeine doesn’t make up for flawed inspiration, then I buy myself a cellphone and call my friend Ann. We meet in front of a shopping mall and I am sorry I am too late. I must have lost a lot of weight because she immediately notices my straw appearance. It’s no big deal: on our next meeting I will have lost a lot of hair. We hang out in a park and talk about the past year. I learn we’ve not changed much, from the outset. Change still in the phase of enzymes. Ann surprises me by taking me to a genuine German beer place for dinner. I’ve seen a “Bierhalle” in Irkutsk, the Russians seem to like it. We share a plate of Bratwurst and three glasses of good draft beer.
My fantasy wandered off at night, before I crash in the hallway out of empathy with her flatmate who might have to get up early.
Seven Enticing Trips You Should Not Take Because Of Their Large Carbon Footprint
You are short of ideas about where to travel? Here are seven options that require only the smile – the grin – of Mammon. I want to go.

  1. Manaus, the Amazon, Ecuador and Galapagos. Fly to Rio and continue to Manaus, take the boat ride over the Amazon and then go to Ecuador. Explore Quito and the coast. Book a one week Galapagos tour.
  2. Hiking Patagonia and experiencing Antarctica. Tango in Buenos Aires before you bus down to the famous glaciers where you hike for a week. Then take the ship to Antarctica and swim with the penguins.
  3. Through the Stan’s to China and Nepal. Fly to some city in the Stan-Republics and find your way overland to China, following essentially the old silk road. Make your way up to Nepal and enjoy Kathmandu. Return from India.
  4. Hiking Kamchatka, Alaska and Canada. On this trip, see the vast pristine nature on both sides of the Pacific. Fly to Kamchatka and hike there for a week. Then make your way to Canada via Japan. Travel up to Anchorage and beyond.
  5. The Middle East to the Sahara or Gobi. Fly to Tbilisi and make your way down through Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt. Ride a camel. Either continue towards Morocco or down to Ethiopia.
  6. Awesome Africa. Kilimanjaro, Heart of Africa. Start in Ethiopia, then go to Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa and Namibia and up towards to Congo in a 4 by 4.
  7. Polynesian Pleasure. Fly to Australia and explore the east coast from Brisbane to Melbourne. Then hop over to Tasmania. Spend some time New Zealand before you fly to Fiji and Hawai. Connecting flight home via New York.

July 31. Seven Trips.

I go out when my couch surfer goes to work and get back home when she is back too. I write in my favorite coffee place, caffeine doesn’t make up for flawed inspiration, then I buy myself a cellphone and call my friend Ann. We meet in front of a shopping mall and I am sorry I am too late. I must have lost a lot of weight because she immediately notices my straw appearance. It’s no big deal: on our next meeting I will have lost a lot of hair. We hang out in a park and talk about the past year. I learn we’ve not changed much, from the outset. Change still in the phase of enzymes. Ann surprises me by taking me to a genuine German beer place for dinner. I’ve seen a “Bierhalle” in Irkutsk, the Russians seem to like it. We share a plate of Bratwurst and three glasses of good draft beer.
My fantasy wandered off at night, before I crash in the hallway out of empathy with her flatmate who might have to get up early.
Seven Enticing Trips You Should Not Take Because Of Their Large Carbon Footprint
You are short of ideas about where to travel? Here are seven options that require only the smile – the grin – of Mammon. I want to go.
  1. Manaus, the Amazon, Ecuador and Galapagos. Fly to Rio and continue to Manaus, take the boat ride over the Amazon and then go to Ecuador. Explore Quito and the coast. Book a one week Galapagos tour.
  2. Hiking Patagonia and experiencing Antarctica. Tango in Buenos Aires before you bus down to the famous glaciers where you hike for a week. Then take the ship to Antarctica and swim with the penguins.
  3. Through the Stan’s to China and Nepal. Fly to some city in the Stan-Republics and find your way overland to China, following essentially the old silk road. Make your way up to Nepal and enjoy Kathmandu. Return from India.
  4. Hiking Kamchatka, Alaska and Canada. On this trip, see the vast pristine nature on both sides of the Pacific. Fly to Kamchatka and hike there for a week. Then make your way to Canada via Japan. Travel up to Anchorage and beyond.
  5. The Middle East to the Sahara or Gobi. Fly to Tbilisi and make your way down through Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt. Ride a camel. Either continue towards Morocco or down to Ethiopia.
  6. Awesome Africa. Kilimanjaro, Heart of Africa. Start in Ethiopia, then go to Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa and Namibia and up towards to Congo in a 4 by 4.
  7. Polynesian Pleasure. Fly to Australia and explore the east coast from Brisbane to Melbourne. Then hop over to Tasmania. Spend some time New Zealand before you fly to Fiji and Hawai. Connecting flight home via New York.

July 31. Seven Trips. was originally published on Meandering home