I used to love Google.They were a bright, dynamic, exciting company who produced good products and services, ready to listen to the client and offer great services, and, let’s face it, great internet tools.
The tools are still great, the Google Agenda, YouTube, Gmail, and I have an Android phone with loads of Google stuff on it too. Google Chrome and the search engine. . The maps, the images and so on, I use them every day. Thanks Google!
But Google have thought about tax and death in a new way, a different way.
Firstly, along with many other multinational companies, they “optimize” taxation through various means, which may well be legal, but in my opinion, lack ethical clarity.
Below is a list of companies who optimized their taxation and I hope to see an end to this behavior soon. Otherwise we’ll see that those things taxation provides, education, roads, defense, health and culture all suffer. The very fabric of society.
Pretty shocking, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Then Google decided to invest in health care. Now don’t get me wrong, I think that initiatives by organisations such as The Gates Foundation, whilst being vehicles for richwashing, ( a term I invented , its like greenwashing where companies pretend to be green by doing piecemeal stuff, companies pretend to be good by doing piecemeal stuff) do provide great benefits to society, and diseases like Polio may well go the way of Smallpox thanks to vaccination programmes in part or wholly funded by Gates Foundation. But Google seem to want to have a world without death, where everyone is connected all the time to the internet, where we can exchange and relay information through our very thought processes. Where death itself is a thing of the past.Where we don’t need taxes for healthcare, or education, or culture as all the information is on the net, directly linked to your brain.
Late last year Google created a company called Calico (http://www.calicolabs.com/), aimed at researching aging, and they hired the best and brightest to run and develop.Lifespan and ageing are being investigated. Lifespans could go to 100, 150, 200 years old.
They’ve developed products for diabetes (a contact lens which continuously monitors sugar levels ) and their Google glasses will be on the market this year if they are not already.
They are already in the EHR market, developing software for hospitals to use to collect and store data.
Their vision is of a biotechnologies future where aging ,death and disease are all things of the past, where organs can be printed on 3D printers and great advances take place.
That all sounds great. Having dealt with taxation, they will deal with death. But stop.
Look at the society we now have, where multinationals don’t play their role in paying taxation, where austerity and social services are threatened and people queue for food at food banks whilst the richest get even richer, the poor get poorer. Perhaps we’ve decreased poverty in the world by 25% but the bottom billion people are still as poor as they have ever been. And even though we’ve lifted billions out of poverty, there is still misery in the world.
Think of the joy of a birth, the joy of a mother or a father watching children grow, learn, interact and develop.The sadness of illness and death. The love you share with people. Those who have died, and who you miss.Death is the one constant we shouldn’t fear,or change.As a father, this moment of child raising is great,a joy,a love, a harmony, what luck to be able to do this.But if we don’t die, then this chance will go.
If no-one dies, then the population will explode! Raising children may become difficult. You may need a ticket to have a child! All the joy and love and sadness that makes us humans evaporates in the heat of technology. It isn’t science they are offering, rather an Orwellian view or a Huxley ” Brave New World”view, where babies are made in big tubes and Soma Soma Soma! is the chant. A perfect gleaming nightmare.Those seeking utopia are really the same as those seeking dystopia.
Besides, death, however sad and tragic, is like decline and taxes: inevitable and natural. In the end, we become tired and ill, and die. We need to pay taxes for societies sake, and as we are all part of society, for our own sake.If we lived forever, procrastination would be a very big problem, as things only get done when people do them, generally when motivated by some factor, be it love, time or money. If no-one dies, there are no ultimate deadlines. Sure, a manager could say ‘next week’ but then the weeks lose importance, and motivation slowly draws to an end.
Google want to create a super human, a cross between a computer and a human. But they forget this very thing.In life you can see mistakes as either an opportunity to improve and develop, or as a point of shame and embarrassment, as something to hide from and escape. Which one do you think is more productive? If we make no mistakes, we make nothing.
Humans are interesting because they are not perfect, and I’m not sure making them connected to computers enhances humans. Ok, you could have the whole of the internet ready to look at, but that’s already on your phone or computer, or even your Google glasses. After, they’ll move to implants in the brain and skin.Then nanospheres and printed organs. Slowly, we move to an unnatural world. Slowly becoming less human. Radio TV and the internet have all had a “sheepifying” effect on the population.People don’t question the news shown to them or debate the best way of action. What price free for thought once Google and the Thought Police get inside your head? An army of zombies to do the bidding of Google.
We are only really free in those few cubic centimeters inside our skulls.Where thoughts and fancies, plans and deeds, ideas and longings, lusts and dreams can develop in safety, free from the judgement of others until we open our big mouths, or write them down. Google want to be able to sell that!
Don’t let us lose this!
A new kidney would be great for me, someone with terminal kidney disease. But where are the strings tied? i’m not sure that Google are offering anything I want!
It’s not ethically clear enough yet, and Google need to reassure investors, patients and the population that yes, they want to earn money, and yes they want to help people, and yes the information remains private. They’ve not done any of this, rather remaining aloof and arrogant, warning us all that ‘the future is change’ and that they will rule the world. Rather a frightening prospect.
Google already knows everything you do on your computer(oh yes!), your mobile if you use android (ah ha!). Do you want them to know your medical history? Will they sell that to your insurance company, or even your employer? or your neighbor? Could a hacker get this information and blackmail you with it?
Are they going to sign a privacy document like a doctor? Or take the Hippocratic oath? they only have one ethic,one song, one chord, “make money”. A company that only does that is a very bad one indeed.
It boils down to “Do you trust Google?” Human nature being what it is, we can see from their past that they will do everything they can to increase profit at the cost of humanity and society.
There is a great read here, http://www.ucobserver.org/features/2013/05/death/ about death, and even though I’m not a religious person I can’t help but agree with lots of what’s written on this excellent blog.
People are already addicted to their phones, the internet and so on. If Google are so greedy as to want to own our very souls, our very beings, it seems there really is no limit to capitalism and greed.They have our privacy and our preferences already.
Politicians need to put boundaries on their activities and laws to guide them.Laws that they cant use to their advantage or turn round, or find ways to wriggle free from. In the end it our obligations that define us.
Google needs to be cut up into smaller companies and its monopoly investigated. Otherwise there will only be one company. Google.