The Internet or the Utopia of the Internet, as we have called it, has revolutionized our life in all its spheres and interactions. However, the rise of the new technologies based on it, and the promises they offer us, are exposed to great challenges, including a crisis of confidence in the use and monetization of our data, such as in the business model of Facebook and Google, to name a few.
These models and many others based on the data economy thus threaten our privacy and, on the other hand, their integrity, in the face of the experienced incursions of cybercriminals, who no longer intend to proudly display their technical ability to hack computer systems. Apparently invulnerable, but they profit from their attacks perpetrating illegal behavior. We have digital kidnappings of information such as Ransomware, data leakage, or attacks on central state services, causing denials of services in some public cases and in dire need, such as the ravages caused by the WannaCry computer virus in the UK public hospitals.
In other words, we are facing a great crossroads where the promises of the use and adoption of these new technologies, such as cloud computing, the internet of things, artificial intelligence, and blockchain, that underlie the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution, are very seductive, but on the other hand in addition to the above-mentioned challenges on privacy and information security, we still do not have, in some cases, certain and widespread evidence of its materialization. Many voices compare the emergence of the blockchain with the advent of the internet, and anticipate an equivalent, or even greater, transformation in communications, business, government, and individual rights. At a minimum, the integration of this technology with machine learning, artificial intelligence, behavior analysis and other similar disruptive technologies has a very promising potential and with applications in virtually all fields of activity, whether private or public.
Two central principles in the promises of this technology are trust and decentralization. Nowadays, in our physical or virtual interactions, we sometimes need a third party to certify or verify, for example, our identity.
In the case of money transfers, it is the banks or other entities that verify the integrity of the operation, including our identity, which if it is online banking will be digital. In other cases, which is even more worrisome, we choose to enter certain online sites verified centrally by our Facebook or Google account, thus subject to the tyranny of their opaque algorithms and codes.
A small handful of companies, including Facebook, Google, Apple, LinkedIn, Tencent, AliBaba and Amazon, dominate the global internet sector, in fact, highly centralized by them. While these companies provide extremely valuable services to billions of people, they are also consolidating control over human communication and wealth at a level never seen in history. We already analyze in this same medium the Facebook business model in the face of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and its challenges for the privacy and security of our data, and liberal democracies.
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