It is fatalistic (and extremely naive) to assume that companies like Google can be “re-invented”. Unless you fall for the marketing blurb that Apple pushes out routinely (re-imagined) for almost all its products every year.
The digital genie is out of the bottle and you can’t lock it up again. Frankly, I am quite surprised by their stated positions on “privacy”.
My bigger worry is microtargeting in the era of “personalised medicine”. In a digital dystopian future, it might just be possible to scare anyone (who uploads their DNA) that they are likely to have mutations leading to cancer.
It is eight years since Eli Pariser’s book The Filter Bubble encapsulated the risks stemming from hyper-personalisation. This month, Pariser came up with a new suggestion: to rebuild digital platforms from scratch in order to enforce the sorts of social norms that prevail in the physical world. That sort of revolution may take a long time — but it highlights the pressures that are growing for profound changes to today’s information ecosystems.