Last week Google acquired Skybox, a satellite imaging company. This is hot on the heels of acquiring Titan Aerospace - a drone company, Boston Dynamics – a robot company that had military contracts at the time of acquisition, and Deepmind – an artificial intelligence company with technology so powerful they forced Google to setup an ethics board before they would sell it.
This alone would be terrifying – a single company with the capability to surveil the entire world from space, build military robots and command them with an artificial intelligence too powerful to control. Except this is just the tip of Google’s power. Google has self driving cars, control of most of the world’s smart phones through Android, and much of the world’s communication through gmail.
Think about that for a second – Google has an army of billions of video cameras around the world and control over vital phone and electronic communications, and a super intelligent artificial robot army and air force. Totalitarian governments at their height could barely comprehend such power, and that’s just the start of it.
Google controls the world’s information source. Google search has a more than two thirds share of search in the US, globally it approaches 90%, with total domination in some markets like Germany. Youtube serves more than 6 billion hours of video each months. They have used their power over information politically before to kill SOPA.
Ponder for a moment. – Google is the gateway through which most users access information, controls one of the most popular video networks and has used their power over information to change policy. They can monitor the entire planet from space, inside your pocket or through email and voice communication. And they have a computer controlled robot military.
Google is freaking me out, and I think we need to be very careful about ceding so much power to a single private corporation – no matter how well intentioned they may seem to be.
Image from this interesting Fast Company article.