From Ted Chiang’s recent piece on AI and Silicon Valley, “Silicon Valley Is Turning into Its Own Worst Fear”:
What I’m far more concerned about is the concentration of power in Google, Facebook, and Amazon. They’ve achieved a level of market dominance that is profoundly anticompetitive, but because they operate in a way that doesn’t raise prices for consumers, they don’t meet the traditional criteria for monopolies and so they avoid antitrust scrutiny from the government. We don’t need to worry about Google’s DeepMind research division, we need to worry about the fact that it’s almost impossible to run a business online without using Google’s services.
This is perhaps my biggest concern with unfettered capitalism in the 21st century. I do not trust corporations to protect the common good, nor do I trust the three biggest corporations ever created to not exploit the marginalized/oppressed in society. Further, individual action is difficult to consolidate into meaningful action against such large entities. In situations such as this, when the dignity of humanity across the spectrum is threatened by faceless corporations or entities with limitless appetite for profit, we require a united front – a governing system controlled by the people to ensure the safety of its citizens – that limits the power of these corporations significantly.