It’s Time to Get Serious About Regulating Tech

Tech companies are as powerful as nations; they need to start acting with the same level of responsibility

Joe Toscano⚡️
OneZero
Published in
9 min readNov 27, 2018

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Credit: cnythzl/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty

Although regulation is not a topic anyone wants to talk about, there comes a point at which it becomes necessary. This is true of all industries, but especially true of the tech industry, which, despite its size, is still maturing. Consider, for example, that there are more than 2.1 billion people on Facebook; more than 2 billion people using Google’s Android operating system — in addition to more than 1 billion using Maps, YouTube, Chrome, Gmail, Search, and Play, individually; and more than 310 million people with Amazon Prime accounts.

Compare these numbers to historical empires, and you’ll see there is no comparison. The Roman Empire had a population of 50 to 70 million individuals, the Mongol Empire ruled more than 110 million, and the British Empire controlled around 530 million. In terms of religions, the Catholic Church claims nearly 1.3 billion people worldwide, Hinduism just under 1.1 billion, and Judaism just under 17 million. And unlike these empires, which took hundreds or thousands of years to form, Big Tech has reached this size in less than 30 years, giving a select few great power in record time.

Without some form of restraint, the powers of modern data empires will undoubtedly come to outweigh the power of any nation-state.

In this short time period, these companies have reinvented the way the world operates. In doing so, they have amassed riches beyond comprehension. While they deserve to make fortunes for the work they’ve done to develop the infrastructure necessary to operate as a global society, their power should not remain unchecked. The world now relies on these technologies, and because of this, the population has effectively been corralled into a state of gamified obedience training. Like a dog with a shock collar, where limitations are not visible to the eye but learned over time through pain and fear, many citizens have begun to give up any hope of trying to push beyond their invisibly defined limitations. There is no reason this should be happening. This is not leadership, it is…

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Joe Toscano⚡️
OneZero

CEO, Mach 9; Author, Automating Humanity; Feat, The Social Dilemma; Contr, Forbes; prev XD, R/GA at Google. Changing the world w/ a smile, design & some code.