Foreword: Due to the scifi-like nature of this blog topic, what with predicting the future involving technology giants, I stylized this blog post as a BladeRunner parody. The first paragraph below, in the scroll box (for aesthetic reason), is nearly word-for-word the intro text from the movie, with nouns changed to fit my hypothetical future.
Late in the 21st Century, THE BIG TECH CORPORATIONS advanced digital evolution into the GAFA phase – a dominance virtually inescapable to a human - known as the Dawn of Data Collection. The GAFA products were superior in spying and data collection, and at least equal in intelligence, to the everyday people who used them. Algorithms were used On-Line as news curators and advertisement placers, in the hazardous exploration and colonization of people’s minds. After a bloody PR disaster by GAFA companies in On-Line news leaks, GAFA practices were declared Not Very Cool - under penalty of being lightly rebuked by people who will inevitably continue to use their products and services. Special Internet Activists - BLADE RUNNER UNITS - had orders to spread the word, upon detection, of any hint of a dystopic GAFA ruled future. This was not called conspiracy theory. It was called educating the masses.
GAFA, the four major tech players (Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple), dominate society in the digital sphere, but where will it go in the future? These days it has criticisms, but ultimately, people continue to return to it for questionably essential services. Search algorithms, curated news feeds, simple point and click shopping? Who wants to give those up? In my screenplay, of a sinister future that is, well, today, the big tech companies are already under scrutiny for their business practices and accountability for their effect on people and society is becoming a larger discussion, propagated by the BLADERUNNERS. But, even with more and more people becoming disenfranchised with them as businesses, the people cannot escape their clutch as a useful service. At least, for three of the four. Google, Facebook, and Amazon will play a bigger and bigger role in people’s lives as people continue to depend on their services.
Apple, on the other hand, does not escape the PR nightmare so easily. Apple, being a tech giant that thrives on innovation, depends on its hardware to stand apart in order to remain relevant. Unfortunately, its groundbreaking inventions seem to be ushered further and further off to the side to instead be caught in the typical cycle of most other tech companies – making what they already have just slightly better, and competing directly with what others are already doing. They are, in essence, replaceable if they do not continue to change hardware in ways that are meaningful and captures audience interest. Each product they release is ephemeral, where Facebook, Google, and Amazon have created landscapes that serve longer-lasting, continuous purposes.
Without truly groundbreaking and enticing new innovations to their products, I don’t think Apple will continue to be able to survive after its many slipups – most recently that they purposely slow down older iPhone models when a new phone comes out. Even the technology of a voiced AI assistant that they popularized with the first major use of one – SIRI – can’t keep up with the competition that followed in its footsteps.
GAFA is not just one single-minded tech giant that threatens to control humanity. GAFA is itself a collection of companies that are in competition with one another and GAF is poised to flush out the final A by dominating in the technology fields that Apple tries to compete in, and since Apple doesn’t really have much of a unique asset to rely on anymore, I don’t think it will survive the blows.
Apple dies, Google, Amazon, and Facebook continue to thrive with their mutually independent services people rely on, the BladeRunners continue to fight an uphill battle.
Cut to black.