NEXT16: Tariq Krim on the need for a slow internet

Are we too addicted to the internet. Are we moving too fast? Are companies making the right tech decision for us? Tariq Krim has some thoughts on that…

Warning: Liveblogging. Prone to error, inaccuracy and terrible crimes against grammar and syntax. Post will be updated over the next 48 hours.

As an entrepreneur, Tariq has always tries to do something different – to offer consumers an alternative. The world of data is owned by four or five companies. The guidelines of Android and Apple control what you can – and can’t do. And they know everything before everybody else. If you go out without your phone, you feel naked. This relationship is now dysfunctional. How many times have you picked up your phone and lost 10 minutes? The amount of information we have is overwhelming. It’s destroying our attention span – down to that of babies.

Silicon Valley is telling us everything is amazing – and tech is amazing – but we need to look deeper. The option offered might not be the only one. We call artificial intelligence by that name so they could exclude the creator of the idea – who called it cybernetics – from a conference. It’s better called “machine learning”. The middle class will be destroyed by it just as machines destroyed the blue collar workers.

We’re constantly observing ourselves – taking photos all the time. And now they’re destroying themselves. We’re allowing surveillance, so we are coached or advised by a screen. We’re becoming proud of our ignorance, despite the fact that we have access to more information than ever. The press is devolving into clickbait, instead of useful investigative journalism. Instead of catching up, should we reflect on what we need to be in the world?

Innovation or repair?

Fixing up what already exists can have dramatic impacts on people’s lives. Roads and buildings and infrastructure don’t need to be innovated – they need to be fixed. It all seems to be about growth, but not all need to be. Some exceptional companies with exceptional people will be – because of their product and scale. Do you want to eat crap? Because that’s what some big companies are producing. That’s leading to the trend of slow food – and slow living. You could reclaim time for yourself, to enjoy life.

One of the big lies of tech is the overnight success. It can take 10 years to be an “overnight success”. People are removing apps from their phone, not adding them. Being a great product is a secret sauce that is also well known. You need a great team, building something out of love. Meaningful product respect our time, our attention and our privacy. Society is not ready for massive disruption. The rise of massive population is proof of this.

Do you want to live in a world dominated by machines that make us useless? It’s not just about being replaced, but about how exciting that world is for us. We need to thin this through, especially in Europe where we’re trying to copy Silicon Valley. Europe has this ability to think about things more deeply, about civilisation and culture. Governments ar edging terrible job of education – and technology is not helping us.

Final thought

We have a duty to pursue social good in our work.

That was said by cryptographers. How about you?