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“Cloud Empires” by Vili Lehdonvirta

With Professor Vili Lehdonvirta
12 Nov 2022
With Professor Vili Lehdonvirta

The early Internet was a lawless place, populated by scam artists who made buying or selling anything #online risky #business. Then Amazon, eBay, Upwork, and Apple established secure digital platforms for selling physical goods, crowdsourcing labour, and downloading apps. These techgiants have gone on to rule the Internet like autocrats. How did this happen? How did workers and small businesses become the hapless subjects of online economic empires? The Internet was supposed to liberate us from gatekeepers, but instead it produced some of the most powerful gatekeepers in history.

In this talk, I draw on my new book Cloud Empires to examine how we got here, analyse some recent policy proposals, and show how “digital burghers” are starting to push back against the online emperors’ power.