Unnecessary Evil — Big Tech & Surveillance Capitalism

Published on
November 12th, 2019
33 minutes

Unnecessary Evil — Big Tech & Surveillance Capitalism

The Interview ·
Featuring Rana Foroohar

Published on: November 12th, 2019 • Duration: 33 minutes

Rana Foroohar, global business columnist and associate editor for The Financial Times, discusses her upcoming book "Don't Be Evil: How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles -- and All of Us." Foroohar charts the course of a twenty-year progression in Silicon Valley from the utopian vision of the dot-com bubble to today's dystopian reality, focusing on data surveillance, regulatory & cognitive capture, and monopoly capitalism. Hosted by Vincent Catalano. Filmed on October 29, 2019 in New York.



  • AS
    Andrij S.
    3 December 2019 @ 17:22
    google climategate... fake data used.
  • JL
    James L.
    13 November 2019 @ 11:15
    hahaha you lost me at video game addict. stupid statement. its called a past time.
    • pd
      peer d.
      15 November 2019 @ 18:16
      Game addict may be an overstatement but the child and we are talking about a child being targeted by these predators, to me is problematic. Of course the parents must police what their kids do online.
    • CH
      Charles H.
      22 November 2019 @ 10:01
      Thus spoke every addict.
  • AV
    Adam V.
    20 November 2019 @ 03:11
    If you are an RIA or private client who has their account at Schwab, TD, Fidelity, IBKR, have you considered how your data is being used? Nothing in life is free and when you are not paying for the product, you are the product instead!
  • HC
    Hahns C.
    12 November 2019 @ 19:13
    Vince - there is NO statistically nexus between wildfires in CA and climate change - ZERO REPEAT ZERO. There is a SIGNIFICANT amount highly institutionalized studies, papers, writings, and books that intelligently dispel the notions of climate change. Not only does climate change not exist, but it is a fraudulent hijacking of the world politics and our economies. As news reporter you have question why was once called Global Cooling, then Global Warming and now its called Climate Change. Because it is cult and not real science.
    • DH
      Daniel H.
      12 November 2019 @ 23:14
      Honest people can disagree with you.
    • TW
      Tom W.
      13 November 2019 @ 00:40
      Climate change is real. The cause of that change is debatable , however, releasing increasingly more carbon dioxide into the air is a reasonable suspect as a primary contributor.
    • RH
      Robert H.
      13 November 2019 @ 00:57
      Thank you for that comment, are you kidding me, how do we get here from this conversation??
    • RH
      Robert H.
      13 November 2019 @ 00:58
      Thank you for that observation and comment, had a few bourbons but how did we get to environmental discussion?
    • RT
      Rex T.
      13 November 2019 @ 02:15
      Well if it doesn’t exist like you say then fabulous! However, sadly the science is against your theory. A Climate Change denier friend in 2019 is like a Holocaust denying crazy uncle. Best kept under wraps and will certainly not help you get laid.
    • RT
      Rex T.
      13 November 2019 @ 02:17
      Btw is that Hahns or Hans?
    • KC
      Kenneth C.
      13 November 2019 @ 17:28
      Honest people can disagree with the selective data manipulation in formulating the argument for Climate Change or global weather cycles as they were known as in the past. As far as bringing up Holocaust deniers, there was a flip side to that. Nazi Germany had a whole science devoted to arguing Jews were subhuman and many tech leaders and financiers of the day subscribed to it. Great interview as a whole and very much enjoy Mr. Catalano.
    • AH
      A H.
      13 November 2019 @ 21:17
      Rex, you're comparing a scientific study to a 'this is so true you will go to jail for merely questioning it' historical event.
    • BS
      Brian S.
      19 November 2019 @ 22:55
      My hope is that anyone that believes in the climate change promoted by the left simply remains ignorant of the facts, and once they study the facts, they'll understand it's all a hoax. Great article about this by the great Walter Williams https://www.creators.com/read/walter-williams. This particular paragraph is worth posting here: "Once in a while environmentalists reveal their true agenda. Ottmar Edenhofer, lead author of the IPCC's fourth summary report released in 2007, speaking in 2010 advised: "One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute de facto the world's wealth." U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres said that the true aim of the U.N.'s 2014 Paris climate conference was "to change the (capitalist) economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution." Christine Stewart, Canada's former Minister of the Environment said: "No matter if the science is all phony, there are collateral environmental benefits. ... Climate change (provides) the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world." Tim Wirth, former U.S. Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs and the person most responsible for setting up the Kyoto Protocol said: "We've got to ride the global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic policy and environmental policy.""
  • DS
    David S.
    18 November 2019 @ 08:16
    Just another book promotion presentation. It could have been so much much better is if both sides were presented by Ms. Foroohar showing that we were the problem as well as we wanted something for free. DLS
  • YB
    Yair B.
    16 November 2019 @ 22:08
    Very interesting. I don't think any politician would dare touch any of the big tech companies. They would be blamed for causing a collapse in the stock market that is just waiting to happen. The regulation will come only after the crash. Just like 2008. After the FAANGs drop 30%, it will be safe to regulate them.
  • MW
    Moritz W.
    12 November 2019 @ 20:56
    Bitcoin fixes this 🚀
    • RV
      Ryan V.
      12 November 2019 @ 20:57
      How. Break it down. Don’t leave out any details.
    • DH
      Daniel H.
      12 November 2019 @ 23:12
      While you are at it, just fully jump the shark and tout the whole millennial portfolio: bitcoin, Tesla, and cannabis stocks.
    • RV
      Ryan V.
      13 November 2019 @ 21:15
      Well? We’re breathlessly waiting
  • PG
    Philippe G.
    12 November 2019 @ 18:09
    Excellent points on the definition of a monopoly and price vs. data. Great conversation! Let me guess her son's video game....Fortnite? That has thousands and thousands of kids hooked...
    • KC
      Kenneth C.
      13 November 2019 @ 16:21
      could be any of the EA sports games as well. We had the same problem with one of our sons at the same age. First time he didnt know, 2nd time he convinced my wife to input the new password because of school, 3rd time he managed to guess it (wife probsbly used hers). Then Dad and him had a come to Jesus moment. Meaning he was going to meet him personally if he didnt knock it off. good interview
  • PW
    Paul W.
    13 November 2019 @ 15:26
    They lost me when they said neoliberalism has replaced Keynes. Could make a better argument that Keynesianism is at least partly due to the current economic problems they describe. She describes some real issues with big tech but the generalizations (CEO short termism, for example) take away from what she is pushing.
  • FF
    Farouk F.
    12 November 2019 @ 19:47
    Vincent, STOP TALLING!
    • FF
      Farouk F.
      12 November 2019 @ 19:47
    • RH
      Robert H.
      13 November 2019 @ 00:18
      Agree, this interviewer has a tendency to cut people off of their thought process and push them down the scripted path. Noticed this on other videos as well, seems dismissive
    • JC
      John C.
      13 November 2019 @ 13:24
      I knew somebody was going to say this. I have no problem with the interviewers adding some flavor to these videos. It wasn't that bad.
  • WP
    William P.
    13 November 2019 @ 04:35
    Vincent is a world class interviewer!
  • AL
    Alfonso L.
    13 November 2019 @ 04:07
    These plugs for Realvision video services are ... Well ... Frequent. Not sure I'm going to buy video services. But maybe someone is. Would be happier if the ads would rotate, or I could ignore those always present ones for video. Maybe sell me some fund, trading platform or broker? Anything but video.
  • MG
    Marcus G.
    13 November 2019 @ 03:28
    A novel economic theory i find very impressive is " Field Theory of macroeconomics". It is rich and what is deducted in the Archiv.1407.6334 paper is amazing. If you have a physics background or some other higher math background i can only recommend the read.
  • BS
    Brian S.
    12 November 2019 @ 22:55
    What a shame that people no longer seem to take personal responsibility. Don't like all the incredible free stuff Google provides? Use another search engine (DuckDuckGo is one). Don't like your son's online/video game activity? Take the game away. Don't like Facebook gathering your private data? Get off FB! Government intervention is never the answer. She implies big tech needs regulation, but that never works (see 2008-2009 and the banks, which were heavily regulated). Regulation is never about making things better. Sure would be nice if RV could get some speakers on who advocate for freedom and personal responsibility rather than more regulation.
    • RT
      Rex T.
      13 November 2019 @ 02:21
      Actually, some hardcore Silicon Valley nerd I know don’t use google search anymore due to high clustering and commercial incentives of the search results.
  • NR
    Nelson R.
    13 November 2019 @ 02:04
    Great video, more Rana please. Vincent Catalano is taking his place as one of the best RV interviewers, toguether with Mark Green and Roger Hirst.
  • RT
    Rex T.
    13 November 2019 @ 02:02
    Btw... 20 years ago we thought the Sand Hill Road VCs and the tech startups had lost their minds for offering services at mass for an operating loss. If google charged $1/pa per users for each free service it offers... search, gmail, maps, cloud, android, voice, etc - Seems reasonable? You’ll conclude the developed world has subsidised developing ones through ads and tech ubiquity. Don’t worry, they don’t offer the developing world the same privacy privileges as westerners. As annoying and hypocritical these tech giants are, we shouldn’t dismiss all they say in their defence in it’s entirety.
  • RT
    Rex T.
    13 November 2019 @ 01:43
    Traditional media will always have it in for the tech platforms for eating away at their lunch the past 20 years. One of your best interviewers. She’s very well read and informed, but I‘m left with the impression her book is a good summary of what has become an all too commonly held view - great journalism nevertheless in an era of fake sensationalism. Malcom Gladwell without the figures and stats. I didn’t learn anything particularly new or insightful from her interview that her own paper or the Economist regularly correspond on.
  • TW
    Tom W.
    13 November 2019 @ 00:46
    Excellent interview, Rana is a very smart person.
  • DP
    David P.
    13 November 2019 @ 00:41
    Great interview. A book I expect to read soon. The discussion regarding how society should address or regulate surveillance capitalists is very important. Unfortunately, it's discussion society should have had about 20 years ago. It's too late. The thought that Google, FB, et al will allow themselves to be regulated, with rules with teeth, is unrealistic. There might be some superficial changes, but the new rules will be written by Google, FB, et al. United Health care wrote the ACA. Can't imagine this will be any different.
  • SK
    Sung K.
    12 November 2019 @ 08:15
    Another (30 min) Book advert
    • DH
      Daniel H.
      12 November 2019 @ 23:15
      But it sounds like a great book. I liked how thoughtful both the interviewer and interviewee were.
  • RA
    Robert A.
    12 November 2019 @ 20:29
    Excellent interview. I know probably not for everyone, but reminds me of some of the “far reaching” more academic interviews from 3 or 4 years ago. This interview, IMO, represents the special “curation” factor that RV brings to the table. This material is just not something that I would have found on my own and I appreciate very much having been led to it. Some of these broader more academic discussions are great when they are sprinkled in and proportion is maintained. This one may be a bit controversial with the RV viewership, but I for one thoroughly enjoyed it—keep up the great curation.
    • TS
      Tom S.
      12 November 2019 @ 23:13
  • NI
    Nate I.
    12 November 2019 @ 22:42
    Even if we passed laws protecting privacy, they would likely be as unenforced and ineffective as HIPAA. Not even a sitting President (Bill Clinton at the time) could get anyone in the US Federal government off their dead butt to enforce it. As consumers, we desperately need countermeasures because this genie isn't going back in the bottle. I go some distance in that direction on a personal level with multiple email addresses, multiple phones, et.al. but that's the market entrepreneurs should aggressively enter.
  • WM
    William M.
    12 November 2019 @ 22:17
    A very worthwhile discussion about some big issues that concern us all, and not just as investors...
  • RM
    Russell M.
    12 November 2019 @ 16:26
    Great overview of the challenges created by big tech in protecting the markets and individual freedom.
    • RM
      Russell M.
      12 November 2019 @ 21:07
      I see we have the same handle. Flip you for it?
  • RM
    Russell M.
    12 November 2019 @ 21:06
    When thinking about when will political paradigms change, I like the explanation of necessity explained by george clooney in the movie three kings about the gulf war. He asks what is the most important thing? Answer, necessity. Therefor, the applcation here is that things like politics don’t change at the first thought of idealism. Things resist change until necessity requires and breaks the hold of resistance.
  • SS
    S S.
    12 November 2019 @ 20:02
    Where is Grant Williams. Is he still involved actively with Real Vision or taking a back step?
  • EK
    Edward K.
    12 November 2019 @ 19:40
    Read Shoshana Zuboff's book "The Age Of Surveillance Capitalism" as well to get the full picture. Or you can Google her (did I just say that? ) for podcasts and interviews.
  • ea
    edwin a.
    12 November 2019 @ 19:08
    Great that you're doing these interviews with journalists and others who have somewhat of an outsider's view on these issues. And good to see that Mr. Catalano seems to be growing into his role as an interviewer. Please keep it coming!
  • dd
    david d.
    12 November 2019 @ 18:47
    at RV we pay and we are the product at the same time
  • dd
    david d.
    12 November 2019 @ 18:46
    RV has been decaying very fast since the 2 week bitcoin week
  • JH
    Jesse H.
    12 November 2019 @ 13:55
    This was fantastic - thank you. Please have Rana back again.
  • Nv
    Nick v.
    12 November 2019 @ 11:32
    Well summarized Rana. This is, and will be, a big focus area for 2020. Regulatory risk is not priced into big tech, at all. Seems obvious big tech is the new tobacco and Facebook will pay the biggest fines for many years to come.
    • RL
      Radu L.
      12 November 2019 @ 13:46
      tobacco, went straight up after all the regulatory issues along the years
  • IH
    Iain H.
    12 November 2019 @ 13:43
    A very important topic, yes it is a book plug, but on a topic that is super important.
  • SS
    Sam S.
    12 November 2019 @ 13:23
    "If the Product is Free---You're The Product"
  • AG
    Adam G.
    12 November 2019 @ 07:43
    Check out praxeology.