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tv   Like Me The Popularity Power Of Big Tech  Al Jazeera  February 5, 2020 12:33pm-1:00pm +03

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use the thing we call chores and the problem is that the culture of that these. cars should say some raiding dos user is not comfortable with european culture this is not like food fascist. triumphal march. dreams of conquest and love globally try. this is very very uneventful kulai to us depressive is without resistance we are poss the danger has already happened. it was then just 10 years ago. now this is it. think of some of the biggest companies in the world today there is google amazon microsoft facebook we chat all of them big tech with algorithms at their. whim or they just uses all customers will these businesses would generate is
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a dot and they need us to like them for them to be indispensable because the more that we use them the more doubt of reproduce we're in the midst of a great race for dot and big tech companies are on the chase. for the past 3 years academics nichol dri analysts have been investigating a phenomenon they call datta colonialism. while the modes scales and context may have changed they say colonialism same underlying functions of empire building extraction and appropriation remain the new lang grab going on there's not land that's being grabbed it's us it's human life the acquisition of the construction of
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data valuable data for corporate use out of the flow of our lives that's the lag right going on and that's why the work is the only one who does justice to that let's think for instance of all the and use her license agreements or the terms of use that we read whenever we sign up for a new social media platform and if we think about the process of being asked to agree to something that we cannot even understand and signing away certain rights signing away our property in this act i think it's a very interesting we're not for one moment saying. colonialism today with data in both the same horrific level of violence that was involved in the beginnings of colonialism. but saying that the poor of historic colonialism was the force to involve people in a massive new system a new order a new organization of the world economy in the history of kuoni listen we've had
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different empires times of course we can think of this kranish empire the british empire i think we would say at this point in history in terms of data colonialism we have 2 centers of power and we have the united states on one side and china in the other and of course we know the american corporations very well in terms of google facebook amazon maybe we don't know the chinese corporations very well because their reach is just beginning to expand. beyond china so far time has been kind of like an internal colony but we are starting to see how these corporations how the infrastructure developed in trying out is starting to expand to 2 different parts of the world including asia and africa. the china's biggest private company well way to acknowledge east africa has been a goldmine of so it's countries like south africa nigeria kenya which is where now
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had delivered some of the biggest most rapidly growing telecom it's. a new ball law has studied the way effect here in kenya they're building products for example that are suited to the african market the cheapest mobile phone that you can get in various african markets it's a chinese phone so you're good at the moment but if you look at on one supporting the good side and they're building relationships with governments they're providing infrastructure so while we has provided a lot of infrastructure for. surveillance in kenya and i see team kenya to work in every country with it's developed by the big or somewhere in the middle and that's really useful for governments here so we advise you know on that government data center on the economy and services or anything else we can share that it's been says from around the world and the nice thing is of course it provides benefits of people connected business to generating revenue as well but the other piece of the
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chinese influence is the surreptitious war there's a lot of questions about serious issues data collection with technology that's coming in from china and in some ways it's the other side of the coin right there is a whole lot of data that's being taken out from african countries and from african citizens to be kept handled used by people who are not necessarily responsible or answerable to african people so while it is not. access people's data or cell data so i don't think that we are the kind of company. that are benefitting off people's data the only data that we're using is just to improve our product themselves such as using artificial intelligence our smartphones in our network of quitman so it can improve be faster there are skeptics who would question adam's assertion after all most big tech companies do exploit user darter in some way however even if while way doesn't do it there are other chinese operations in
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africa that collect and make extensive use of people's data. here in nairobi the dominance of chinese tech is undeniable from telecommunication lines to satellite networks right down to the planes in people's hands and the apps on those fights the chinese companies have this market and much of the data it produces in its cross trends in holdings for instance sells to over 40 percent of the mobile market in sub-saharan africa it's fun someone to the brand names techno i tell and in phoenix but its strategy doesn't end with the hardware data driven apps like the music streaming service in play and digital payment platform pompei add to a growing repository of data on africa uses and can help boost money making opportunities for transients when you think about digital partners and i think any i think the thing that gets lost is that the primary objective it was about money was fundamentally about using power using culture using all these kinds of tools to
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impose once a syphon another societies throughout the 1st society could make money off of that where you define corner as a map that then you really start to see the residences in china has been investing in africa many parts of asia for 2030 years very systematically is never pretended that it is doing anything other than expanding its economic interests it does not use. civilizing rhetoric because it doesn't need to let's contrast that for the moment with a company like microsoft which talks about democratizing ai or facebook that is concerned to give as it were connection cometary can just be a privilege for some of the rich and powerful and needs to be something that everyone shares. facebook has made a big push to present itself as a benevolent force to get people online since 2013 the company has been leading
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a giant project called internet dot all sort of gateway to the world wide web for those with poor connectivity. the app that serves as the portal to facebook's version of the internet is called free basics and it's been launched in at least 60 countries more than half of them in africa the idea is to provide access to select sites without data charges in effect it's a stripped down version of the internet that has one very important component guaranteed connection with facebook and guaranteed possibilities of data extraction which is why despite the company's slick marketing not everyone is convinced that this is an entirely selfless exercise non-jury cimbali is a leading to general rights advocate i think what's most interesting in the it what i'll call technicalities is the rush to connect the unconnected and the rush to retain the connected in very specific platforms a lot of these actors will do anything and everything to make sure at some point or
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other these users go through their platforms because it's all about the data it's all about how much data can i get about people's of arkansas ads so that you know concrete predictive things to keep them hooked into what i'm able to offer and therefore the world will keep churning there's no way that a lot of these tech companies will be able to behave in their home countries the way they behave in the developing world there is no way that you would be able to roll out a project as big as free basic. without some kind of check or balance would some without some kind of ethical. there was no effort to even say this is what this means this is how this will work for you and that is really telling right of what they think that african people want and or need from the internet projects that are largely in this case emerging from a silicon valley or western america centric approach to connecting the unconnected
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i really did deeply steeped in the same condescending ways of doing development so this notion that give them something that is better than nothing i mean why would anyone not want that vehicle in us some is framed in terms of a civilized nation or mission when people are connected we can accomplish some pretty amazing things just like historical colonialism was framed as well in terms of bringing progress bringing something that is good and beneficial for humanity we can get closer to the people that we care about we can get access to jobs and opportunities and i do our participation is expected and our petition pretty soon we are told it's for our own good meanwhile all of this extraction and capturing of the you know it's kind of happening in the background without realizing the consequences 'd the facebook free basics model which is basically about expanding for facebook the demain of data extraction across the world at a time when demand for facebook is beginning to fall amongst younger people in
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particular in the so-called west. is very interesting just as in historic colonialism the apparent weakness of the colonized populations that lack of weapons their lack of certain results or the lack of an economic structure suggested to the colonizers that they needed to be colonized they needed to have whatever the colonial system would offer them to bind them in. free basics is just one of facebook's many initiatives across africa. facebook's latest push here in kenya is called express why fight companies teamed up with local internet service providers to in-store why 5 hotspots like here in the mass i town of eagle are on the outskirts of nairobi. jerry nimble c.e.o. is a hairdresser who signed up as of into facebook's express wife and he gets a commission on every dot a bundle he sells his customers say they love it they do his 1st book because even
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myself i use it and they find their bundle keep the cheaper. compared to i've done it once you get the 1st round of the 1100 in biz for free yeah. you find. yes they do they find it cheaper to find it and then it opens from express why fi has been an undeniable success here it has made web access cheap enough of people living in undeserved locations then there are so many people living i don't want to connect at the. however for those studying the activities of facebook and other big tech companies in kenya it's impossible to ignore the huge potential for data mining. last year facebook was pushed to admit that it had added its own software to the wife i access points that enabled non facebook data such as customer names and phone numbers to directly flow to the corporation while facebook says the purpose of the software is to ensure that hotspots functioning well there's no
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clarity on just how much additional data is being collected and how that's being used a lot of these companies aren't african they're not even based in kenya in africa forget kenya or longer so what is a kenyan citizen separate to do an american company uses their data sell their data markets it through you know as a product and without their consent without their ability to intervene to appeal to a court system that's kind of the gray area that we're falling into it a lot of these big you know tech companies. facebook isn't the only big tech company playing the connectivity card here in cannes last year alpha that the parent company who's most famous brand is google signed a deal with telecom kenya to quite connect the unconnected using balloons. below its loon is a path breaking project that's been 8 years in the making and the idea is deceptively simple use high altitude balloons to provide internet connectivity in remote and hard to reach parts of the world kenya is where luna is making its
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commercial debut i spoke with charles merida 'd he doesn't represent loon but it's more well known sister company google google's mission from the get go was to really get a lot of the africans who are offline on my end to make sure they get online in the more affordable and have better conduct content as well as relevance and the mission around noon is to ensure that we are able to deliver connectivity to the most remote parts of the continent and around the world so i am proud to say that here in kenya is the 1st commercial agreement between noon our sister company and telco kenya worry. maze to be seen is what standards of. accountability there will be will that mean that people are restricted to only using google esque sites for instance that remains to be questioned what data will be collected in the process of connecting people i put some of these questions to charles he made it clear we can say much more about lou after all he doesn't work for that company he did tell
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me this though about google's approach to darkly. so what we do at google is we ensure that we have employed a user trust that is something that's really important and that users understand exactly what we're doing with the data that we have on them we also ensure that they're able to manage and control so transparency ability to manage and control the data that we have on our users is really critical and when it's so transparent people get to joy the magic of google charles uses a lot of positive p.r. speak especially when it comes to discussing matters relating to data that doesn't come as a big surprise because data ownership access privacy is an incredibly sensitive legal and political issue across the world governments and regulators have been looking at their data laws more and more seriously but perhaps the most widely publicized is the european union's general data protection regulation otherwise
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known as g.d.p. which set a global benchmark for strengthening individual rights of the personal data that's really the discrepancy that we're seeing here is that western governments western societies have more space to keep these companies in check and to force them to abide by their local social standards and countries in other parts of the world and that's where the cornal is a label really starts to become evident there is not enough space for ordinary african citizens to push their governments on these issues there is not enough space for us to actually demand. different standard of treatment in july has a point just take a look at the state of data regulation around the world and you'll see how stock the imbalances are according to a study by the law firm deal a pipe our north american or australian or much of europe and china have what they would classify as heavy all robust regulation for many countries across africa
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regulation ranges from moderate to 0 the kenyan government says they're working on it but the speed at which they are developing policies is being outstripped by the speed at which private players are revolutionizing telecoms and internet connectivity i don't think there's anything particularly wrong with private sector actors taking the lead role if especially again they have the resources and the wherewithal to be able to do this the question is where are state in this game to keep them in check because of the narrative around how any and all digital development is a positive or a net positive asking critical questions is almost seen as being an enemy of progress and therefore the risk is your people in the community use of will miss out so because of that nuanced and problematic notion being created very few politicians and by extension government actors want to step up to the play to play this game proactively. which come to think of our data as being within us ready to
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be extracted like oil can be extracted from the earth i certainly used to think of my daughter that way before i began doing research and interviews for this episode but i've since come to realize that our lives locations family members our preferences our dislikes all of this is really data and to create algorithms that can convert every single human being into a collection of bits that money can be made off of so this myth that the somehow the oil or they call it the day to exhaust naturally within a switch is naturally there to be used by corporations it happens for their profit is that and. credibly important myth to say there's nothing we can do about this this is the way things are but go back 203040 years this was not the way things were we need to hold on to that to remember it to pass on the memory of that. in order to show that this remains the myth the digit the core the colonial project so
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we're not just talking about the big players facebook google amazon in china by do tencent cetera the social quantifications sector is a larger industry sector that's composed of the big players as well as alternative hard wired manufacturers software developers all of this platform interpret as well as data analytics firms and data brokers so all together they. constitute the. sector that provides the infrastructure for making this extraction possible structure of data from our human and social life we are the bodies producing the data but we're not necessarily the ones who benefit from that so i'd stay here is people's ideas people's dreams people's hopes people's frustrations being used to sell things back to them where do we actually get our money back we're not saying no attack in africa we're not saying you know jump over africa as you're thinking
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about and i internet it's it has done a lot of really good things in africa it's made a lot of connections possible that we're not possible even 510 years ago the question is how do you mitigate the harm how do you make sure that you protect the goods and you corral the bad model that we have now isn't doing that i think we should be bold enough and brave enough to go back to the drawing board and challenge ourselves to think differently about this model is there a better way of doing this thing is there a more humane way of doing this connectivity thing that we're trying to do through all this cooperation. technology is neither positive and negative or neutral it will always love the intrinsic motivation that exists in a community where it's being deployed one practical tip that i've found very useful
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is to keep myself informed and bring in as much critical forward and questioning of when we are told you know technology x. is the solution and is the disrupt. you know to question how we were arrived at that conclusion supporting actors who are making their day to day lives to ask these things is one way to also keep making sure your views your concerns are represented and you know not to give into their fear we can still figure out how to heal the society technology could help with that but it's dead teaching us that we need to go back to the basics of how we form societies how we find consensus and how we quite exist in this world children who are now 5 years or younger growing up with toys which are in private robots. algorithmically programmed which operate by tracking everything they do and playing back to them in forms that help the child grow everything they say we don't know what happens to that data but it will be
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probably impossible in about 10 years time to say to the child who is now by that stage a grown up adult you can live in the world without being tracked algorithmically at every moment of your life it's their fault very important we start in a sense speaking the truth to a very new type of power that he's walking the face of the i think it's easy to forget you know even before all of our lives were ruled in a certain sense what all of these for equality and yet when i talk to young people . encouraged by the sense that they really don't think all of this. and they are actually less deterministic that i am when i think about technology and when i hear them talk about their changing perceptions towards facebook toward social media how they're becoming more critical of it and how they're becoming more
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. literate consumers in terms of reading the terms of service in terms of trying to make sense technically the least of which i think that gives me hope. that people can become more active consumers. participants think that it's really fortunate for us as we're thinking about the issues of the opportunities are challenges the technology presents to remember about human beings . and human nature is very it's very true and it's very repetitive we've actually been here before with other forms of communications technology we think about radio and the role that radio played for example in the 2nd world war when you think about the launch of television and you know the fears around advertising in the fields around how. television would change society if these are all conversations that have actually happened in the past and so for me the big lesson is let's learn from what has already happened in the past let's not be afraid to look back there's
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nothing radical so radically different about internet technology that human beings haven't really grappled with before. around the world council entities are working to manipulate and influence us to trolls thoughts they can use just algorithms that a team developed in designed to push content that says click me every click we make is a value that's sold off them but what and in the thread of a 5 part series of raids in mexico examining how propaganda and proper shape content over the algorithm on the jersey oh. so bring on al-jazeera. and make tension with the us and protests over a plane downing iran's hanum entry election will be held on february 21st partition
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of syria explores the phrase of india's religious minorities on the prime minister modi's hindu move. us voters get the last chance to weigh in on the 2020 alexion al-jazeera will have comprehensive coverage a new series looks at how female scientists across the globe are opening doors for other women to pursue careers in science and after 5 years of civil war could bitter rivals agree a peace deal to revive africa's youngest nation. february on al-jazeera. musician of whom a visionary teacher. al-jazeera world meets the man bringing traditional arabic sounds to a whole new audience being a woman and being american playing around with it already in something new from boston to palestine the land of his but he nutter's the next generation of musical talent simon shahid their musical journey on al-jazeera.
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al coverage of africa is what i'm most proud of every time i travel ban whether it's east or west africa people stop me and tell me how much they appreciate our coverage and our focus is not just on their suffering but also. so on a more uplifting and inspiring story people trust our g.m. to tell them what's happening in their communities in kiev and i'm biased and as an african i couldn't be more proud to be part of it. and. how jews here are. and.
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why. the order. this is al-jazeera. hello and welcome to this round is air news hour live from doha i'm martine that is coming up in the next 60 minutes a cruise ship under quarantine and hong kong says anyone entering from mainland china will be isolated and checked for signs of coronavirus. turkey told staff the president warned syrian government forces to pull back in if a face further action.

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