The techno-optimism of Google – now called Alphabet – is as limitless as it is alarming.
Sooner or later, the premise goes, the search engine company that is spreading its wings ever wider to insert itself into every nook and cranny of our planet, will solve all the problems of humanity. This story underpins virtually every single news release issued by the company.
This is no abstract or poetic matter – quite the opposite. Search engines know almost everything about us. It wasn’t always this way, but we have been living in a very real Big Brother world for quite some time now.
George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984,” written in 1948, was meant as a warning. More and more often, however, one gets the feeling that the bestseller was actually used as an instruction manual.
Today’s data-driven world has two main principles: “Data is the new oil” and “Knowledge is power.” Little by little, and almost unnoticed, this has created a fundamentally new society.
As underscored by the emergence of Bitcoin, there is a new currency: “Data.” It literally replaces classical money. But this is not all.
Is Google now creating a digital God?
With its Loon project, a project to provide Internet access in remote areas by means of high-altitude balloons, the company tries to be omnipresent. With its search engine, language assistants and measurement sensors in our rooms, Google wants to be omniscient, too.
While the company is not yet omnipotent, it is at least answering 95% of our questions. And with personalized information, Google is increasingly steering our thinking and actions.
Furthermore, the Calico project – a project to combat aging and related diseases – is trying to make people immortal. Sounds good, but wouldn’t Google become the judge over life and death in an ‘over-populated’ world?
Nevertheless, some already seem to dream of a digital God who will guide our human destiny, and propose to establish artificial intelligence as religion. But what for some is the invention of God through human ingenuity must be the ultimate blasphemy for Christians – sort of the rise of the antichrist.
Democracy under threat
While this process is unfolding, democracy is becoming a collateral damage. It is defamed as outdated technology.