What is the danger of Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple and how the digital economy affects our lives. Exclusive interview with Tim Cole, an expert in the field of Internet, e-business, social networking, and IT security.
In the framework of the II International scientific forum “step into the future: artificial intelligence and the digital economy”, organized by the national University of management, Tim Cole spoke on the topic of “10 lessons learned the Wild West.”
During the performance, you compare the digital world with the Wild West, where did this analogy?
All came from the conquest of the Wild West. We are now at the same stage of development in terms of the world wide web. The Internet is very young, it has existed since 1994. In the eyes of history is just a moment.
One of the major problems that arose in the Wild West, was a large monopoly. Standard Oil and railway barons were determined by market rules and consumer rights. As a result, they caused a wave of discontent, protest and resistance (including physical), the mass strikes. Of course, for people of the late nineteenth century these monopolies seemed so big, that to conquer them seemed impossible. However, mankind did it: we took the excess power of the oil monopolies and created new laws to be able to influence them. And today the same thing happens. Of course, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple appear to be too large in order to control them. They do what they want, but it’s wrong. We can force them to abide by the rules, but first you have to agree that it will be for the rules. We, as consumers, have much more power than ever in history, we can make them dance to our tune. But we must first come to agreement among themselves.
What waits for cryptocurrency technology in the future, against the background of declining rate and low processing speed operations?
First and foremost, it is necessary to distinguish the blockchain from electronic currency, is two completely different things. Cryptocurrency today become a tool or a toy investors, and many of the companies that created those, quite rightly moving in the direction of bankruptcy. However, the technology of the blockchain is vital. The fact that it solves the biggest problem which exists on the Internet today — the lack of trust. Do you not know someone you are trading on the Internet. But if you are using blockchain, you will be confident in a partner. Will the blockchain technology just for the cryptocurrency market? I don’t think so. For example, this technology is suited for operation of micro-networks.
What are the key trends in the digital economy is worth paying attention to? How does it affect business?
The blockchain is a very important development. E-Commerce in the near future will surpass stationary from the point of view of income. Amazon already controls 25% of the electronic market directly and 25% through partners on the Amazon marketplace. It’s too much, too much power concentrated in the hands of one company. So I think that we need to deprive it of Amazon as well as create new rules that the market will continue to function. Probably this problem will be solved within the company. The fact that the staff of the major players in the digital market, such as Amazon and Facebook, EN masse rise up against their own bosses, saying: “what are you doing here, immoral or illegal”. And I think it will really change the situation. The problem with Amazon is that it controls not only the channel itself, the electronic trading platform, but also has its own logistics, payment system and infrastructure. No company should have that kind of power.
Because they will abuse it! Amazon already does this: for example, refusing to pay taxes, saying: “No, we pay taxes only in Seattle, where is the head office of the company.”
So, you’re saying that taxes and transaction may apply the new laws?
I think the Europeans and countries outside of the U.S. we need to tax companies like Amazon, at the time of receipt of proceeds on the territory of their country, and not in the moment of direct revenue. Otherwise, Аmazon sends their money, for example, where in Ireland and refuses to pay its part to the society.
How digital technologies are changing business processes?
They change the business processes around the world and business in General. I like to describe it as a digital triple jump. The fact that the processes are constantly changing: you go from the analog method of transmitting information to digital and then from digital to the widespread use of powerful smartphones and tablets, and then from all this to the realm of artificial intelligence or learning. Sometimes when you look back, I don’t know how we did anything before. A very simple example of marketing. Marketing in the beginning was the person who was screaming. Who cried the loudest was the best marketer. When the Internet emerged, marketing became to deal with real people, with customers. He never had to talk to anyone in person, just needed to send the audience relevant messages. However, we are now at a stage where the marketing job is to go out, listen and return the information back to the company. And it is very difficult for those involved with marketing because they were not taught to do that. At the University he taught mass communication, creating messages for consumers. Now the opposite is true! And the same thing happens in production, in each Department of the company. People in these professions need to reinvent ourselves.
Industrial manufacturing is also subject to change?
Plants? Of course! We will see growth of Autonomous systems, automation in the future will play a huge role. In Germany, Austria and Western Europe in General, the number of elderly people is growing disproportionately fast, so the alternative to automation is not. We automate just to be able to do the work, because people will quickly become insufficient. Automation will play a critical role in supply chain management, the learning algorithm, this will change the operation of the factories. Of course, this will mean that robots will do much of what people do today. But that’s okay, because it’s a boring job, boring job. For example, in supermarkets in Germany there are young women who are in all day scanning bar codes. The robot can do it much better. Because it’s a pretty inhuman way to spend your day — just scan things at the checkout. And then, of course, the question arises — what to do with these young ladies, when the robots take over their job? We need to teach them. We need to make them qualified for more interesting, more successful employment positions. Employers will benefit from this. Of course, it will cost jobs, but it always happens. Every time new technology is introduced, someone has to be replaced. I’m sure it’s a great idea. Today we have become much more flexible, we can work from home or only during certain hours, if that is our desire. The problem is that the employer often does not want to take into account these possibilities. In Germany we had a statistic that 75% of all employers refuse their employees to work from home, although the technology allows it. And the reason is distrust. They do not believe that people are really working when they are home. However, distrust is never a good management system.
So, basically, the key factor is trust?
We must create a working team of professionals, passionate about their work. This will engender mutual trust between them and management. It is not that the boss needs to trust the workers, but also that the employee must trust the boss. This is a brand new method of company management. We need that kind of Leadership 4.0.
Tim Cole (Tim Cole), an expert in the field of Internet, e-business, social networking, and IT security
Read more •••