Kagan: Apple’s Tim Cook and Tesla’s Elon Musk issue warning

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The concern many industry watchers have seen coming for years was finally addressed by Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, and Tim Cook, Apple CEO. They say that we have created a dangerous environment. Cook says rampant disinformation and conspiracy theories created by algorithms to increase clicks resulting in sales is ultimately a recipe for disaster. How this is negatively impacting our society and how we must change before it’s too late

Cook raised this issue as a speaker at the Computers, Privacy and Data Protection Conference, last week. He said we are focused on the wrong thing. How today too many executives are focused on how far they can go and what they can get away with.

Tim Cook at Computers, Privacy and Data Protection Conference

Instead, we need to be focused on protecting our society and civilization. Hooray. Finally, someone with a voice that can and should be heard.

He said we can no longer turn a blind eye to the false theory that all engagement is good engagement.

Today, the goal is to gather data and to use it in marketing, no matter the cost. As a result, in recent years we have lost our privacy and personal security. Continuing to head in this direction is negatively impact our civilization and things are only getting worse.

Musk of Tesla and Cook of Apple both issuing warnings

Sound familiar? EMusk of Tesla started talking about this years ago. He echoes what I and others have been warning about for a long time. Musk is one of the big and influential names waiving the danger flag trying to get our attention for years.

Between Musk and Cook, we’re off to a great start. But we need everyone to understand the serious threat we all face if we continue to go down this path.

The danger there is real and is starting to impact us all today. Left unchecked, it will be disastrous for our society.

Consider all the violence and riots we have seen this past year alone in cities and on Washington DC. And after the election, things are only getting worse, not better.

Cook says Apple will focus more on protecting user privacy and data privacy going forward. It’s about time. That’s good news for every one of us and for our society.

Other CEO’s need to join with Musk and Cook

Now, if we can get other CEOs at other companies to join with Apple in this direction of protecting the user, then we can start to reverse this dangerous trend.

Cook’s warning is just the first step in a long journey to protect our society. This has to do with business, medicine, politics, communications, everything.

There are very likely other companies who see these issues the same way Apple does. They need to be more public with their attitudes. We need to build a roaring river to protect us going forward.

This is a real battle for the safety and security of us as individuals and for our civilization.

The way business uses technology for marketing hurts society

Smartphones, computers, the Internet and all the new technology we have been engulfed in for more than a decade has two sides.

On one hand it’s good. We can now do things with this technology for ourselves that is truly amazing.

On the other hand, the way too many businesses use it is dangerous. The invasion of privacy is ticking time bomb. Something we must disarm before it blows us all up.

There are so many different slices of the pie that have their own, unique problem areas.

One slice is how companies use disinformation to attract readers to click. This disinformation is getting hotter and more troublesome with each year that passes.

Some look at this as simply marketing. Others like Cook and Musk see this as ratcheting up for a disaster under the cloak of marketing.

We need to cool things down. Heat attracts attention of users, who click to learn more. That is used for many reasons. It tracks and shows readership, direct users to another site with something for sale and all sorts of other things.

However, it also collects user data which is then sold for marketing reasons. This is how so many of today’s giant companies grow so large and powerful.

The problem is our society is starting to spin out of control and we need to regain that control, or we will reap the consequences.

Getting user clicks started out as marketing tool

This started out years ago as a solid way to increase clicks, which is what success is measured by. It was an innocent beginning but has morphed into something that is threatening our society.

However, as each year passes, the bait asking users to click often get much more enticing by creating a more positive or negative feelings with the user, causing them to click for more information.

This sounds harmless, but in reality, this is getting very dangerous. It separates us. Many times, these split America into sides which increasingly are at war with each other.

What started out as marketing tool is now dangerous to society

This kind of marketing builds on itself, year after year. Before long what we are left with is a battleground which has become harmful to our society.

And it all started out as a way to sell more stuff. Today, this is becoming a real problem and it needs to be solved.

The problem is businesses and individuals are using this more, not less. The growth curve continues to rise and that is a recipe for disaster for our society.

Growth curve on this dangerous practice is still rising

What started out as a spark, is growing into a real problem. And rather than putting it out now, we are just throwing gasoline on it, enflaming and enlarging the serious problem, year after year.

So, thank you Tim Cook and to Elon Musk for raising this as an issue that we all need to be aware of and to battle. Thank you to Apple for stepping up to battle this problem and protect users.

We must put this fire out before it continues to grow and ultimately consumes us all.

This is no longer just a marketing tool. Today, we are playing with fire. So, before we all get burned, we must take control of this dangerous issue before it’s too late.

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