Countering the Inordinate Power of the Big Technology Companies

Corporate power in the technology domain is a complex cartography but it is not indecipherable. It takes intelligence and subtlety to address the problem of autonomously self-propagating information systems that have grown too large, too fast and in all of this speed and runaway self-replication represent something of an atavistic return to a state of accelerated reproduction which in cells occurs in (or as) cancer.

Context: Fractal Organizations: Defining a New Era of Global Governance

From a more or less purely information-systems perspective, the aggregation of power and money in “Big Tech” is perhaps an inevitability of information and energy flow from simple to complex, from disordered partial solutions to grand architectures of patterned self-propagation. Given enough time to develop and degrees of freedom to explore, information systems in physics, biology and technology tend to orient themselves towards the most efficient methods of self-replication of those systems – structurally, organisationally and as an expression of both optimal information encoding and energy efficiency. In this sense, the emergence of vast distributed and abstract (if also concrete in consequence) corporations represents an inevitability of material systems undergoing constant adaptive evolution towards refining methods of algorithmically optimal pattern storage and replication.

A key philosophical insight here is that the autonomous self-propagation of optimal and adaptive information and energy-processing systems is (recursively) biased towards the cultivation of the material conditions and circumstances which privilege the continuity of those systems. This, in effect, happens anyway as a consequence of physical principles in nature and agnostic of context, strategic or corporate, is likely to develop its own momentum above and beyond what we might aspire to as fair or equitable results. There is room for interpretation and systemic adjustment here but without self-conscious acknowledgement of the self-propagating logic(s) underlying these Global systemic patterns within which we find ourselves, it is unlikely that we can effect much positive influence or change. In determining exactly how these kinds of distributed corporate systems emerge and self-propagate we may be able to harness that self-inflected exponentiation of information systems that they embody and direct it along more desirable paths.

Complex information-processing systems thriving on the self-generated products and environments of those same systems. This is a self-propagating logical recursion, exponentiated, and attempts to reign it in must follow similar paths through this complex catography and topology of contemporary technological and economic reflexivity.

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