Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Telcos, and the Credit card company: Who will free us from the six horsemen of the consumeropocalypse?

The first four horsemen of our ultramodern 'consumeropocalypse' are:
1. Apple - gadget culture, cult of we-are-cool-you-aren't, Foxconn sweatshops/suicides, versions after versions, must buy newest version, walled garden)
2. Google - pseudo-organizing the world's information, more Google products listed in search results than ever before, precedence to spammy aggregators like Huffington Post, copying newer online successes all the time, Google+ social networking, Android - more people use mobile phones, more people search Google
3. Facebook - where all our time goes nowadays, oversharing by people, timewasters as Facebook's main product, copying newer online successes all the time, soylent green 2.0
4. Amazon - cloud data service, digital media, book publishing, kindle, superstore...

Farhad Manjoo writes about these big four.

Then, there are two more:

5. The telcos, the wireless companies, the ISPs - gatekeepers, anti-net neutrality
6. The credit-card company - damn, no one gets big by telling us not to buy, buy, buy, and we are drowning in the all the fine print

Between these extremes of consumerocracy, we are all fucked. And, the scariest part:
The best tech companies stay at their peak for a decade at most. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have the potential to be exceptions.

Whatever the future will look like (I like Clifford Stoll's idea that the future is not being about what tools we will be using, but to know the future, ask the kindergarten teacher), it increasingly looks like we will end our lives as serfs of these big four/six.

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