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Silicon Valley: The rich just get richer
Ten years ago we were at the height of the financial markets. Our respective Western nations were rich. Economies were stable. At least, so we thought. The 2008 global recession saw how fragile we were. In the space of just a few months, the Western banking system came close to utter collapse.
The vast majority of technology companies, which were considered relatively stable in terms of investments, struggled but powered through the heart of the financial meltdown. As the ordinary folk on the street began to penny pinch and save as much as they could — when they could — despite soaring prices and life expenses, the richer got even richer, and Silicon Valley giants just got bigger and bigger.
Google hit the breakthrough $1,000 per share price mark, while Apple has a market value of around half-a-trillion dollars. Microsoft, despite its strategy shift to devices and services in recent years, remains a cluster bomb of billion dollar businesses. And what do we get out of it? Sure, we'll get the shiny new product and business-powering services, but who's going to pay for our healthcare or pensions?
With Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Flickr, and dozens of other mainstream sharing services on the Web, we know far, far too much about almost everyone in our lives. The youth of today with smartphones in their pockets are snapping almost every photo, tweeting every incidental thing, sharing on Facebook their hates and gripes, and frankly their older, more mature counterparts aren't that much better.
The National Security Agency doesn't to spend billions of dollars from a "black budget" on high-tech surveillance systems. Half the time they just need to hit "friend", "subscribe", or "follow" on our various feeds. The culture we find ourselves in today has morphed to such a point that the very notion of privacy has become diluted. Goodness knows what will happen when teenagers will graduate from school and attempt to gain employment, when their "hidden" resumes are only a cursory Google search away.
Image: Google/stock image
Adverts. Adverts everywhere.
"Buy this." Or not. "Look at this new shiny thing." Or don't. Everywhere you look someone or something is trying to sell you something. Not content with the traditional ways and means, advertisers are becoming increasingly desperate to infiltrate almost every walk of life.
Back ten years ago, the thought of your favorite television shows having "subliminal" adverts peppered throughout. Oh no, a murder, but who will solve the case? The award-winning anthropologist who is more interested in showing you the latest features on Windows Phone than hunting down the killer. It spoils the show, and we all know it. Advertisers are even placing ads on the Web using your own photo. And what can you do about it? Well, you can always turn it off, but not in every given case.
No wonder New Yorkers hate Times Square, the Mecca of all advertisers, so very, very much.
Image: Renew London