• Les Echos – Dans la jungle d’Amazon

    Le géant américain, qui a annoncé en début de mois de nouveaux résultats records (233 milliards de dollars de chiffre d’affaires, 10 milliards de bénéfice net) est tentaculaire.

    Pour tenter d’y voir plus clair, « Les Echos » ont donc établi leur propre organigramme. L’objectif : faire apparaître en un clin d’œil la diversité des secteurs sur lesquels le géant avance ses pions ; et montrer comment ces activités, si diverses en apparence, se nourrissent entre elles et alimentent en réalité le cœur de son business. Et encore, cette infographie n’intègre pas les actifs que Jeff Bezos détient en propre comme le média le « Washington Post » et l’entreprise d’exploration spatiale Blue Origin…

    #Amazon #Vectorialisme

  • [QGIS] Plugin DistanceCartogram | Matthieu Viry

    Très intéressant plugin permettant de réaliser des "anamorphoses vectorielles" dans QGIS, c-a-d de déformer l’espacement entre les lieux, leurs positions relatives des lieux en augmentant leur proximité (ou leur éloignement) par rapport à une référence.
    Ici, c’est la méthode de régression bi-dimensionnelle développée par W. Tobler (1994) qui est mobilisée. L’un des intérêts étant notamment de pouvoir comparer le résultat de deux anamorphoses !
    Tobler W. (1994). « Bidimensional Regression ». Geographical Analysis, vol. 26, n° 3, p. 187-212.

    D’arcy T. W., W. R.Tobler et C. Cauvin ont participé au développement de cette méthode que Gilles Vuidel a codé en java, dans l’application Darcy disponible ici : https://sourceforge.net/projects/jdarcy/files/latest/download

    Plus d’informations (bibliographie, etc.) est disponible sur le site de l’UMR THEMA :
    –> http://thema.univ-fcomte.fr/production/logiciels/16-categories-en-francais/cat-productions-fr/cat-logiciels-fr/294-art-darcy

    –> Le dépôt de Matthieu Viry est accessible ici : https://github.com/mthh/QgisDistanceCartogramPlugin

    #cartogram #anamorphose #vectorielle #distance #Darcy #Tobler #Cauvin

  • Building the Roman Empire #Vector #Tile #Map | Pelagios Commons

    In our previous article, we wrote about the difference between raster tiles and vector tiles, http://commons.pelagios.org/2017/09/rdg-update-the-roman-empire-vector-map-project. Now, we will be able to study the outcome. The technicalities of the process will be discussed, and the result as of now can be studied here https://klokantech.github.io/roman-empire/#3.97/45.49/6.47. The section “Display the vector tiles with style” goes over the functionalities of the map.

    The input layers for the map have been extracted from the SQL-database of DARE, https://dare.ht.lu.se with a subset of the attributes, that is, places, roads, fortifications and provinces. The files can be edited in a desktop GIS application such as QGIS. Since we are publishing the data on Github, only data with an open license has been included in the project. They are all vector layers (point and line geometries) and have been converted to GeoJSON format in WGS 84 projection. They can be explored from the website of the project at Github, https://github.com/klokantech/roman-empire in the data directory and previewed on a map. Among the input files are also the icons (in SVG format) that depict places of different types, and server scripts.

  • On the discussion on OSMF supported #vector #tiles maps

    But trying to address this problem now by crawling under the wings of Mapbox or other big corporations and making OSMs public image fully dependent on technology developed and controlled by corporate players would in my opinion be a big mistake. Open Source or not – the past experience with Mapnik and Carto has quite well demonstrated i think that OSM currently lacks the resources and expertise to develop or to organize development of a map rendering framework for the specific needs of the project independent of either the big corporate #OSM users or the broader FOSS community.

  • #OpenStreetMap #vector #tiles : mixing and matching engines, schemas and styles

    For my next web mapping project, we’ll use vector tiles. Great. And the data will come from OpenStreetMap. Excellent. Now you only have five more questions to answer.

    For the front-end web application developer who wants to stick a #map in their site, vector tiles open up lots of options and flexibility, but also lots of choices.

    – Display engine: which JavaScript library is going to actually draw stuff in the browser?
    – Style: how will you tell the display engine what colour to draw each thing in the schema?
    – Data schema: what kinds of data are contained in the tiles, what are the layers called, and what are the attributes available?
    – Tile transport: how will the engine know where to get each tile from?
    – File format: how is the data translated into bytes to store within a tile file?

    Bon petit topo pour se remettre dans le bain :)

  • Face à Netflix, l’empire Disney contre-attaque

    C’est peut-être le dernier coup d’éclat de Bob Iger. Jeudi 14 décembre, Disney a officialisé le rachat de la majeure partie de la 21st Century Fox, le groupe de cinéma et de télévision fondé par Rupert Murdoch, pour 66 milliards de dollars (56 milliards d’euros). Avec cette opération, l’emblématique patron du créateur de Mickey, qui ne cesse de repousser la date de son départ à la retraite, parachève sa stratégie d’acquisitions. Et il prépare l’avenir : un changement fondamental de modèle pour contrer Netflix.

    #Disney #Concentration #Vectorialisme

  • Disney buys much of Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox in deal that will reshape Hollywood - LA Times

    We’re honored and grateful that Rupert Murdoch has entrusted us with the future of businesses he spent a lifetime building, and we’re excited about this extraordinary opportunity to significantly increase our portfolio of well-loved franchises and branded content to greatly enhance our growing direct-to-consumer offerings,” Iger said in a statement.

    “The deal will also substantially expand our international reach, allowing us to offer world-class storytelling and innovative distribution platforms to more consumers in key markets around the world,” Iger said.

    Disney’s determination to marshal resources is the clearest signal of heightening tensions between technology giants and legacy media. After decades of dominance, Disney, Time Warner, Fox, CBS and NBCUniversal have been scrambling to bulk up to withstand the gale forces coming from Google, Facebook, Netflix, Apple and Amazon.com, which have pushed into television production and distribution.
    Disney’s deal to buy Fox studio could bring substantial layoffs, analysts say

    Audiences for traditional television have been shrinking, in part, because viewers have so many options, including big-budget shows available through Netflix and Amazon. Movie attendance has stagnated. And Netflix is stepping up its output of films, roiling that business along with television.

    “The lingering tensions between traditional media and digital platforms has devolved into an open war,” media analyst Michael Nathanson said in a research note. “It has become increasingly difficult for [film] studios to break through the clutter of high-quality TV options in the home.”

    Buying Fox would continue the transformation of Disney, which began when Iger took the helm in 2005. He engineered a series of savvy acquisitions, starting with the 2006 purchase of Pixar Animation Studios — creator of “Toy Story,” and “Finding Nemo” — which reinvigorated Disney’s moribund animation division. The company then bought Marvel Entertainment in 2009 and Lucasfilm in 2012, betting big on marquee film brands such as “Star Wars.”

    Then came a shift. This year, Disney spent $1.6 billion to gain a majority stake in BamTech, an online streaming platform that Disney plans to use to launch two streaming services in the next two years, including an ESPN service next year. Disney decided its future was in selling its shows and sports channels directly to consumers. That meant taking on Netflix.

    “The core underlying driver for this deal … is the impending battle royale for content and streaming services vs. the Netflix machine,” Daniel Ives, head of technology research for GBH Insights, said in a recent report. The “appetite for content among media companies [is] reaching a feverish pitch.”

    A Disney-branded streaming service, set to launch in 2019, will have more firepower with Fox’s assets. Disney would gain 22 regional Fox Sports networks, which could help entice more sports fans to sign up for the proposed ESPN streaming services if the service eventually includes access to Los Angeles Kings, San Diego Padres or New York Yankees games.

    Wall Street isn’t sure whether the U.S. Justice Department would bless the combination. It would reduce Hollywood’s television and movie production capacity by eliminating one of the major studios.

    The Justice Department’s antitrust division is suing to block AT&T’s proposed $85-billion takeover of Time Warner, which includes HBO, CNN, TBS, Cartoon Network and the Warner Bros. film and TV studio.

    #Disney #Concentration #Vectorialisme

  • Serving vector tiles is no fun. Grandine wants to change this.


    Some of you already might know that I am in the lucky, but stressful position of being funded for six months to work on #Vector #Tile related infrastructure. This is coming from Prototype Fund, a fairly new initiative by the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany and the German Ministry for Education and Research.
    In short: Make hosting Vector Tiles painless and reproducible.


    #osm #map

  • The Internet Is Dying. Repealing Net Neutrality Hastens That Death. - The New York Times

    Because net neutrality shelters start-ups — which can’t easily pay for fast-line access — from internet giants that can pay, the rules are just about the last bulwark against the complete corporate takeover of much of online life. When the rules go, the internet will still work, but it will look like and feel like something else altogether — a network in which business development deals, rather than innovation, determine what you experience, a network that feels much more like cable TV than the technological Wild West that gave you Napster and Netflix.

    If this sounds alarmist, consider that the state of digital competition is already pretty sorry. As I’ve argued regularly, much of the tech industry is at risk of getting swallowed by giants. Today’s internet is lousy with gatekeepers, tollbooths and monopolists.

    The five most valuable American companies — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft — control much of the online infrastructure, from app stores to operating systems to cloud storage to nearly all of the online ad business. A handful of broadband companies — AT&T, Charter, Comcast and Verizon, many of which are also aiming to become content companies, because why not — provide virtually all the internet connections to American homes and smartphones.

    Together these giants have carved the internet into a historically profitable system of fiefs. They have turned a network whose very promise was endless innovation into one stuck in mud, where every start-up is at the tender mercy of some of the largest corporations on the planet.

    This was not the way the internet was supposed to go. At its deepest technical level, the internet was designed to avoid the central points of control that now command it. The technical scheme arose from an even deeper philosophy. The designers of the internet understood that communications networks gain new powers through their end nodes — that is, through the new devices and services that plug into the network, rather than the computers that manage traffic on the network. This is known as the “end-to-end” principle of network design, and it basically explains why the internet led to so many more innovations than the centralized networks that came before it, such as the old telephone network.

    But if flexibility was the early internet’s promise, it was soon imperiled. In 2003, Tim Wu, a law professor now at Columbia Law School (he’s also a contributor to The New York Times), saw signs of impending corporate control over the growing internet. Broadband companies that were investing great sums to roll out faster and faster internet service to Americans were becoming wary of running an anything-goes network.

    To Mr. Wu, the broadband monopolies looked like a threat to the end-to-end idea that had powered the internet. In a legal journal, he outlined an idea for regulation to preserve the internet’s equal-opportunity design — and hence was born “net neutrality.”

    Though it has been through a barrage of legal challenges and resurrections, some form of net neutrality has been the governing regime on the internet since 2005. The new F.C.C. order would undo the idea completely; companies would be allowed to block or demand payment for certain traffic as they liked, as long as they disclosed the arrangements.

    But look, you might say: Despite the hand-wringing, the internet has kept on trucking. Start-ups are still getting funded and going public. Crazy new things still sometimes get invented and defy all expectations; Bitcoin, which is as Wild West as they come, just hit $10,000 on some exchanges.

    Well, O.K. But a vibrant network doesn’t die all at once. It takes time and neglect; it grows weaker by the day, but imperceptibly, so that one day we are living in a digital world controlled by giants and we come to regard the whole thing as normal.

    It’s not normal. It wasn’t always this way. The internet doesn’t have to be a corporate playground. That’s just the path we’ve chosen.

    #Neutralité_internet #Vectorialisme

  • The Upside of Being Ruled by the Five Tech Giants - The New York Times

    Yet ever since I started writing about what I call the Frightful Five, some have said my very premise is off base. I have argued that the companies’ size and influence pose a danger. But another argument suggests the opposite — that it’s better to be ruled by a handful of responsive companies capable of bowing to political and legal pressure. In other words, wouldn’t you rather deal with five horse-size Zucks than 100 duck-size technoforces?

    The insatiable appetite of digital technology to alter everything in its path is among the most powerful forces shaping the world today. Given all the ways that tech can go wrong — as we are seeing in the Russia influence scandal — isn’t it better that we can blame, and demand fixes from, a handful of American executives when things do go haywire?

    That’s not ridiculous. Over the last few weeks, several scholars said there are good reasons to be sanguine about our new tech overlords. Below, I compiled their best arguments about the bright side of the Five.

    Un peu mythiques les capacités de contrôle qui seraient plus faciles sur quelques grandes entreprises...

    #Vectorialisme #Régulation

  • The Biggest Misconceptions about Artificial Intelligence

    Knowledge@Wharton: Interest in artificial intelligence has picked up dramatically in recent times. What is driving this hype? What are some of the biggest prevailing misconceptions about AI and how would you separate the hype from reality?

    Apoorv Saxena: There are multiple factors driving strong interest in AI recently. First is significant gains in dealing with long-standing problems in AI. These are mostly problems of image and speech understanding. For example, now computers are able to transcribe human speech better than humans. Understanding speech has been worked on for almost 20 to 30 years, and only recently have we seen significant gains in that area. The same thing is true of image understanding, and also of specific parts of human language understanding such as translation.

    Such progress has been made possible by applying an old technique called deep learning and running it on highly distributed and scalable computing infrastructure. This combined with availability of large amounts of data to train these algorithms and easy-to-use tools to build AI models, are the major factors driving interest in AI.

    It is natural for people to project the recent successes in specific domains into the future. Some are even projecting the present into domains where deep learning has not been very effective, and that creates a lot of misconception and also hype. AI is still pretty bad in how it learns new concepts and extending that learning to new contexts.

    For example, AI systems still require a tremendous amount of data to train. Humans do not need to look at 40,000 images of cats to identify a cat. A human child can look at two cats and figure out what a cat and a dog is — and to distinguish between them. So today’s AI systems are nowhere close to replicating how the human mind learns. That will be a challenge for the foreseeable future.

    Alors que tout est clean, la dernière phrase est impressionnante : « That will be a challenge for the foreseeable future ». Il ne s’agit pas de renoncer à la compréhension/création de concepts par les ordinateurs, mais de se donner le temps de le faire demain. Dans World without mind , Franklin Foer parle longuement de cette volonté des dirigeants de Google de construire un ordinateur qui serait un cerveau humain amélioré. Mais quid des émotions, des sentiments, de la relation physique au monde ?

    As I mentioned in narrow domains such as speech recognition AI is now more sophisticated than the best humans while in more general domains that require reasoning, context understanding and goal seeking, AI can’t even compete with a five-year old child. I think AI systems have still not figured out to do unsupervised learning well, or learned how to train on a very limited amount of data, or train without a lot of human intervention. That is going to be the main thing that continues to remain difficult . None of the recent research have shown a lot of progress here.

    Knowledge@Wharton: In addition to machine learning, you also referred a couple of times to deep learning. For many of our readers who are not experts in AI, could you explain how deep learning differs from machine learning? What are some of the biggest breakthroughs in deep learning?

    Saxena: Machine learning is much broader than deep learning. Machine learning is essentially a computer learning patterns from data and using the learned patterns to make predictions on new data. Deep learning is a specific machine learning technique.

    Deep learning is modeled on how human brains supposedly learn and use neural networks — a layered network of neurons to learn patterns from data and make predictions. So just as humans use different levels of conceptualization to understand a complex problem, each layer of neurons abstracts out a specific feature or concept in an hierarchical way to understand complex patterns. And the beauty of deep learning is that unlike other machine learning techniques whose prediction performance plateaus when you feed in more training data, deep learning performance continues to improve with more data. Also deep learning has been applied to solve very different sets of problems and shown good performance, which is typically not possible with other techniques. All these makes deep learning special, especially for problems where you could throw in more data and computing power easily.

    Knowledge@Wharton: The other area of AI that gets a lot of attention is natural language processing, often involving intelligent assistants, like Siri from Apple, Alexa from Amazon, or Cortana from Microsoft. How are chatbots evolving, and what is the future of the chatbot?

    Saxena: This is a huge area of investment for all of the big players, as you mentioned. This is generating a lot of interest, for two reasons. It is the most natural way for people to interact with machines, by just talking to them and the machines understanding. This has led to a fundamental shift in how computers and humans interact. Almost everybody believes this will be the next big thing.

    Still, early versions of this technology have been very disappointing. The reason is that natural language understanding or processing is extremely tough. You can’t use just one technique or deep learning model, for example, as you can for image understanding or speech understanding and solve everything. Natural language understanding inherently is different. Understanding natural language or conversation requires huge amounts of human knowledge and background knowledge. Because there’s so much context associated with language, unless you teach your agent all of the human knowledge, it falls short in understanding even basic stuff.

    De la compétition à l’heure du vectorialisme :

    Knowledge@Wharton: That sounds incredible. Now, a number of big companies are active in AI — especially Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple in the U.S., or in China you have Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent. What opportunities exist in AI for startups and smaller companies? How can they add value? How do you see them fitting into the broader AI ecosystem?

    Saxena: I see value for both big and small companies. A lot of the investments by the big players in this space are in building platforms where others can build AI applications. Almost every player in the AI space, including Google, has created platforms on which others can build applications. This is similar to what they did for Android or mobile platforms. Once the platform is built, others can build applications. So clearly that is where the focus is. Clearly there is a big opportunity for startups to build applications using some of the open source tools created by these big players.

    The second area where startups will continue to play is with what we call vertical domains. So a big part of the advances in AI will come through a combination of good algorithms with proprietary data. Even though the Googles of the world and other big players have some of the best engineering talent and also the algorithms, they don’t have data. So for example, a company that has proprietary health care data can build a health care AI startup and compete with the big players. The same thing is true of industries such as finance or retail.

    #Intelligence_artificielle #vectorialisme #deep_learning #Google

  • Can Washington Stop Big Tech Companies ? Don’t Bet on It - The New York Times

    The tech giants are too big. They’re getting bigger. We can stop them. But in all likelihood, we won’t.

    The history of American business is one of repeated cycles of unfettered, sometimes catastrophic growth followed by periods of reflection and regulation. In previous eras of suffocating corporate dominance over our lives — when industrialists gained an economic stranglehold through railroads and vast oil and steel concerns, or when rampant financial speculation sent the nation into economic paroxysms — Americans turned to their government for a fix.

    In the last half-century, lawmakers and regulators set up a regime to improve the safety of automobiles and other manufactured goods, to break up a telephone monopoly that controlled much of the nation’s communications and to loosen the fatal grip that tobacco companies held over American society.

    We are now at another great turning point in the global economy. A handful of technology companies, the Frightful Five — Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon, the largest American corporations by stock-market value — control the technological platforms that will dominate life for the foreseeable future.

    Yet despite their growth and obvious impact on the economy and society, technology has long been given a special pass. For nearly two decades, under Republican and Democratic presidents, most tech giants have been spared from much legislation, regulation and indeed much government scrutiny of any kind.

    J’avais parlé de ce phénomène en 2007 sous le vocable de #Vectorialisme pour désigner la nouvelle forme de monopole qui émergeait du numérique. Devant le scepticisme de mes collègues, j’avais laissé cette approche de côté. J’ai eu tort (de l’abandonner) car j’avais une belle intuition.

    Part of what has hampered governmental action against the Five is the unusual nature of their power. Much of what they do now, and will soon have the power to do, exceeds what we’ve ever expected from corporations. In different ways, they each collect, analyze and mediate our most important public and personal information, including news, political data and our relationships. They’re being called upon to police free speech, terrorism and sex trafficking, and to defend nations and individuals against existential digital attack.

    But in other ways, the Five do not cleanly fit traditional notions of what constitutes dangerous corporate power. Only a couple of them enjoy monopolies or duopolies in their markets — Google and Facebook in digital ads, for example.

    Then there is our own complicated relationship with the tech giants. We do not think of them in the same way we think of, say, the faceless megacorps of Wall Street. The Five’s power comes cloaked in friendliness, utility and irresistible convenience at unbelievable prices. We hooked our lives into them willingly, and then we became addicted to them. For many Americans, life without all but one or two of them might feel just about unlivable.

    #Economie_numérique #Monopoles #Plateformes

  • Alphabet to build futuristic city in Toronto

    Alphabet is setting out to build the city of the future, starting with a downtown district of Toronto, in what it hopes will serve as a proving ground for technology-enabled urban environments around the world.

    In a first-of-its-kind project, Alphabet’s subsidiary Sidewalk Labs will develop a 12-acre waterfront district, Quayside, with a view to expand across 800 acres of Toronto’s post-industrial waterfront zone.

    Self-driving shuttles, adaptive traffic lights that sense pedestrians, modular housing and freight-delivering robots that travel in underground tunnels might all be part of the new development, according to the winning bid submitted by Sidewalk Labs.

    In its proposal, Sidewalk also said that Toronto would need to waive or exempt many existing regulations in areas like building codes, transportation, and energy in order to build the city it envisioned. The project may need “substantial forbearances from existing laws and regulations,” the group said.

    Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau announced the deal on Tuesday in Toronto.

    “We started thinking about all the things we could do if someone would just give us a city and put us in charge,” said Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet. “That’s not how it works, for all sorts of good reasons,” he added with a laugh.

    For Alphabet, the project presents a chance to experiment with new ways to use technology — and data — in the real world. “This is not some random activity from our perspective. This is the culmination of almost 10 years of thinking about how technology could improve people’s lives,” said Mr Schmidt.

    Despite a growing political backlash against big tech in the US, where politicians are grappling with the growing influence of Alphabet, Facebook and Amazon, the company’s city-building effort has been undeterred.

    Mr Trudeau described the project as a “test bed for new technologies . . . that will help us build cleaner, smarter, greener, cities”.

    “Eric [Schmidt] and I have been talking about collaborating on this for a few years, and seeing it all come together now is extraordinarily exciting,” he added.
    Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, with Dan Doctoroff, chief executive of Sidewalk Labs © Bloomberg

    One of the challenges for the new district will be setting data policies and addressing concerns over privacy, which are particularly acute because smart city technologies often rely on collecting vast amounts of data to make cities run more efficiently.

    In the vision statement submitted as part of its bid, Sidewalk describes a vast system of sensors that will monitor everything from park benches and overflowing waste bins, to noise and pollution levels in housing. The development will also pioneer new approaches to energy, including a thermal grid and on-site generation, and tech-enabled primary healthcare that will be integrated with social services.
    Big Tech’s power remains unchallenged

    The transportation proposal for the district includes restricting private vehicles, and instead offering self-driving shuttles and bike paths that are heated in the winter, according to the vision document. A series of underground utility tunnels will house utilities like electrical wires and water pipes, and also provide pathways for freight-delivering robots.

    Sidewalk Labs, a subsidiary of Alphabet that was founded in 2015 by Dan Doctoroff, a former deputy mayor of New York, will spend $50m on initial planning and testing for the development. As part of the effort, Google will also move its Canadian headquarters to Toronto.

    Mr Doctoroff said the group would present a detailed plan in one year, following extensive consultations with the community. “Our goal here is to listen, to understand,” he said. “This has to be a community conversation . . . otherwise it won’t have the political credibility to do things that are quite bold.”

    #smart_city #Alphabet #Toronto #Dérégulation #Vectorialisme

  • Monopoly Men | Boston Review

    Amazon. Google. Facebook. Twitter. These are the most powerful and influential tech platforms of the modern economy, and the headlines over the last few weeks underscore the degree to which these firms have accumulated an outsized influence on our economic, political, and social life. To many, including acting FTC Chair Maureen Ohlhausen, the status quo is great: the benefits to consumers—from cheap prices to easy access to information to rapid delivery of goods and services—outweigh greater regulation, lest policymakers undermine Silicon Valley innovation.

    But the recent controversies suggest a very different perspective—that private power is increasingly concentrated among a handful of tech platforms, representing a major challenge to the survival of our democracy and the potential for a more dynamic and inclusive economic order. A growing clamor from both the left and right has created a sense of “blood in the water,” and suggests that Silicon Valley’s long honeymoon may finally be over.

    The danger of the “platform power” accumulated by Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Twitter arises from their ability to control the foundational infrastructure of our economic, informational, and political life. Even if they didn’t spend a dime on lobbying or influencing elected officials, this power would still pose a grave threat to democracy and economic opportunity. The fact that these companies provide enormously popular and useful goods and services is indisputable—but also beside the point. The central issue here is not simply the value for the consumer. Instead it is vast, unaccountable private power over the foundations of contemporary society and politics. In a word, the central issue is democracy.

    It was this deeper problem of power—not merely the impacts on prices or the consumer experience—that motivated reformers such as Brandeis to develop whole new institutions and legal regimes: antitrust laws to break up monopolies, public utility regulation to assure fair prices and nondiscrimination on “common carriers” such as railroads, the creation of the FTC itself, and much of President Franklin Roosevelt’s early New Deal push to establish governmental regulatory agencies charged with overseeing finance, market competition, and labor.

    But the late twentieth century saw a widespread shift away from the New Deal ethos. Starting in the 1970s, intellectual critiques of economic regulation highlighted the likelihood of corruption, capture, and inefficiency, while scholars in economics espoused the virtues of self-regulation, growth-optimization, and efficient markets. In these intellectual constructs big business and the conservative right found support for their attacks on the New Deal edifice, and in the 1980s and 1990s, we saw the bipartisan adoption of a deregulatory ethic—including in market competition policy.

    These cultural currents—the skepticism of government as corrupt at worst and inefficient at best, the belief in private enterprise and the virtues of “free markets,” and a commitment to delivering for consumers above the broader social and political repercussions—suffuses our current political economic discourse. The Brandeis-ian critique of private power has been wholly absent in recent decades and nowhere is this absence more pronounced than in the worldview of Silicon Valley.

    In our current moment, it is as if technological innovation has been divorced from the corporations that profit from it. Through these rose-colored glasses, technology is seen as a good in itself, promising efficiency, delivering new wonders to consumers, running laps around otherwise stale and plodding government institutions. Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Twitter have been able to resist corporate criticism (until recently, that is) by emphasizing their cultural and ideational commitment to the consumer and to innovation. They have casted themselves as the vanguards of social progress, the future’s cavalry who should not be constrained by government regulation because they offer a better mode of social order than the government itself.

    But as the anxieties of the last few months indicate, this image does not capture reality. Indeed, these technology platforms are not just “innovators,” nor are they ordinary corporations anymore. They are better seen and understood as privately controlled infrastructure, the underlying backbone for much of our economic, social, and political life. Such control and influence brings with it the ability to skew, rig, or otherwise manage these systems—all outside the kinds of checks and balances we would expect to accompany such power.

    This kind of infrastructural power also explains the myriad concerns about how platforms might taint, skew, or undermine our political system itself—concerns that extend well beyond the ability of these firms to lobby inside the Beltway. Even before the 2016 election, a number of studies and scholars raised the concern that Facebook and Google could swing elections if they wanted to by manipulating their search and feed algorithms. Through subtle and unnoticeable tweaks, these companies could place search results for some political candidates or viewpoints above others, impacting the flow of information enough to influence voters.

    Given our reality, it would be helpful to think of Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Twitter as the new “utilities” of the modern era. Today the idea of “public utility” conjures images of rate regulation and electric utility bureaucracies. But for Progressive Era reformers, public utility was a broad concept that, at its heart, was about creating regulations to ensure adequate checks and balances on private actors who had come to control the basic necessities of life, from telecommunications to transit to water. This historical tradition helps us identify what kinds of private power are especially troubling. The problem, ultimately, is not just raw “bigness,” or market capitalization. Rather, the central concern is about private control over infrastructure.

    At a minimum Equifax’s data breach suggests a need for regulatory oversight imposing public obligations of data security, safety, and consumer protection on these firms. Some commentators have suggested an antitrust-style breaking up of credit reporting agencies while others have called for replacing the oligopoly altogether with public databases.

    #Plateformes #Monopoles #Vectorialisme

  • With Disney’s Move to Streaming, a New Era Begins - The New York Times

    LOS ANGELES — Disney set off a sonic boom in Hollywood by unveiling plans to start two Netflix-style services: For the first time in the streaming age, the world’s largest media company had decided that embracing a new business model was more important than clinging to its existing one.

    Disney’s decision to better align itself with consumer trends — deemed “a rare and impressive pivot” by RBC Capital Markets — instantly reverberated through the entertainment industry. Disney’s cable channels, which include ESPN, have long been seen as the reason many viewers were refraining from cutting the cord entirely. If Disney was going all in on streaming, the impact would be felt by almost every television company and cable operator.

    And would viewers who want to eschew traditional cable subscriptions eventually find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer number of streaming services they would need to cobble together to watch what they wanted to watch?

    Qui a dit que la Bourse permettait l’innovation ?

    Underscoring the uncertainty, Disney’s shares declined by more than 4 percent on Wednesday, to $102.83. The company reported a 9 percent decline in quarterly profit on Tuesday, which may have led to the sell-off. Wider weakness in financial markets did not help.

    Disney investors may also be worried about the enormous spending it will take to build two streaming services. Some might have been underwhelmed by the company’s plans or might have thought that the decision came much too late.

    Children’s programming, an obvious strength for Disney, has proved especially important for streaming services. Amazon last year acquired a significant amount of PBS’s library of original series to exclusively stream on its service, and Netflix has said it expects to have 75 original children’s programs by the end of next year.
    Disney’s announcement had an immediate impact on Netflix, as the news media raced to pit the two companies against each other, and some investors worried about Disney taking back its movies. (Starting in late 2019, new-release Disney and Pixar films will move to Disney’s entertainment-focused streaming service.) On Wednesday, Netflix shares declined 1.5 percent, to $175.78.

    L’avenir est-il à l’extension sur toute la chaîne de valeur (vectorialisme) ? Maéis comment l’usager va-t-il s’y retrouver ? La balkanisation de l’internet va s’accentuer.

    Notably, Netflix has been building up a huge original movie operation, including spending the $90 million “Bright,” a forthcoming Will Smith movie. Netflix plans to start making as many as 50 of its own movies annually.

    #Télévision #Vidéo #Streaming #Disney #Netflix #Vectorialisme

  • Google is bringing adblocking to Chrome, and will let publishers charge readers who use other adblockers » Nieman Journalism Lab

    Google is launching an adblocker for its Chrome browser next year, according to multiple reports (and confirming rumors from the spring). It will allow publishers to charge readers who have other adblockers installed a set amount per pageview, the Financial Times reported:

    [Google] is launching “funding choices” where publishers can set a price per page view for consumers using ad blockers to pay — or abandon their blockers and see the ads. Google will track how many pages people view and charge them through a new version of their Google Contributor service.

    Google hasn’t announced or confirmed its Chrome adblocker or micropayments-for-adblock-users plan — and considers it a “filter,” not a “blocker” — but it’s been briefing publishers and advertisers, according to the Journal, reportedly giving publishers a six-month heads up to prepare:

    To help publishers prepare, Google will provide a self-service tool called “Ad Experience Reports,” which will alert them to offending ads on their sites and explain how to fix the issues. The tool will be provided before the Chrome ad blocker goes live, the people familiar with the plans say.

    As described to publishers, Google’s feature will block all ads on sites that have a certain level of unacceptable ads. Publishers have been advised to ensure their sites are compliant if they want their ads to be displayed.

    #Google #publicité #ad_blockers #vectorialisme

  • Review: Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture

    In essence, Taplin points out that Google and Facebook achieve their massive net profit margins because they dominate the means by which content is distributed on the net, while creating very little of it themselves. He points out that You Tube (owned by Google) has in excess of 55% of the streaming audio business but only contributes 11% of the revenue distributed to the creators. Whereas Spotify has been striking deals with record companies that drive more revenue back to the creators of content, the collapse of the fixed format (compact disc) sector of the music business has been catastrophic for many artists. Facebook refuses to negotiate agreements for the distribution of music and video on its platform.

    Taplin also touches on the psychological aspects of Facebook’s designs. He notes that studies by B.F. Skinner in the 1960s reveal a quirk fundamental to Facebook’s model. When Skiner’s mice hit a lever and were given the same reward, they soon hit the lever far less vigorously than the mice who were given variable rewards. Ponder your behavior when it comes to reacting to the ping of a new text or a Facebook update.

    #GAFA #Vectorialisme #monopoles

  • Move Fast and Break Things by Jonathan Taplin review – the damage done by Silicon Valley | Books | The Guardian

    Critique (négative) du livre de Jonathan Taplin sur les GAFA

    In the end, Taplin is reduced to hoping that the dominant players of the digital world will come to their senses and realise the damage they are doing. Of Zuckerberg, he writes: “I hope that the young CEO of Facebook will be willing to pause and think about where his company is taking the media business.” So that’s what we’ve been reduced to: wishing for a “good emperor” to hear his people’s distress. It’s a sign of how slavish the world built by Silicon Valley has become. Taplin’s own experience with Ohanian should show us just how dangerous it is to be dependent on the goodwill of spoiled brats.

    #GAFA #monopoles #vectorialisme

  • Is It Time to Break Up Google ? - The New York Times

    In just 10 years, the world’s five largest companies by market capitalization have all changed, save for one: Microsoft. Exxon Mobil, General Electric, Citigroup and Shell Oil are out and Apple, Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Amazon and Facebook have taken their place.

    They’re all tech companies, and each dominates its corner of the industry: Google has an 88 percent market share in search advertising, Facebook (and its subsidiaries Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger) owns 77 percent of mobile social traffic and Amazon has a 74 percent share in the e-book market. In classic economic terms, all three are monopolies.

    While Brandeis generally opposed regulation — which, he worried, inevitably led to the corruption of the regulator — and instead advocated breaking up “bigness,” he made an exception for “natural” monopolies, like telephone, water and power companies and railroads, where it made sense to have one or a few companies in control of an industry.

    Could it be that these companies — and Google in particular — have become natural monopolies by supplying an entire market’s demand for a service, at a price lower than what would be offered by two competing firms? And if so, is it time to regulate them like public utilities?

    We are going to have to decide fairly soon whether Google, Facebook and Amazon are the kinds of natural monopolies that need to be regulated, or whether we allow the status quo to continue, pretending that unfettered monoliths don’t inflict damage on our privacy and democracy.

    It’s not just newspapers that are hurting. In 2015 two Obama economic advisers, Peter Orszag and Jason Furman, published a paper arguing that the rise in “supernormal returns on capital” at firms with limited competition is leading to a rise in economic inequality. The M.I.T. economists Scott Stern and Jorge Guzman explained that in the presence of these giant firms, “it has become increasingly advantageous to be an incumbent, and less advantageous to be a new entrant.”

    There are a few obvious regulations to start with. Monopoly is made by acquisition — Google buying AdMob and DoubleClick, Facebook buying Instagram and WhatsApp, Amazon buying, to name just a few, Audible, Twitch, Zappos and Alexa. At a minimum, these companies should not be allowed to acquire other major firms, like Spotify or Snapchat.

    The second alternative is to regulate a company like Google as a public utility, requiring it to license out patents, for a nominal fee, for its search algorithms, advertising exchanges and other key innovations.

    The third alternative is to remove the “safe harbor” clause in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which allows companies like Facebook and Google’s YouTube to free ride on the content produced by others. The reason there are 40,000 Islamic State videos on YouTube, many with ads that yield revenue for those who posted them, is that YouTube does not have to take responsibility for the content on its network. Facebook, Google and Twitter claim that policing their networks would be too onerous. But that’s preposterous: They already police their networks for pornography, and quite well.

    #GAFA #Monopoles #vectorialisme #régulation

  • N. Virginia Landgrab Continues : Next Amazon Data Center Campus ? | Data Center Knowledge

    L’industrialisation de l’informatique : achats de terres, construction de datacenters géants... jusqu’à découvrir la situation de la Silicon Valley : le terrain est trop cher, alors on reconstruit sur plusieurs étages

    The competition for land with entitlements suitable for large campuses in red-hot Northern Virginia data center market continues unabated.

    Corporate Office Property Trust, a publicly traded REIT that’s built a lot of shell buildings for Amazon data centers in the region, appears to be in the process of entitling land for another data center campus. Northern Virginia is home to the largest cluster of Amazon Web Services data centers.

    #datacenters #vectorialisme #impact_environnement #accaparement_des_terres

  • Télécoms : la FCC annule des avancées récentes et adoube le « zero rating »

    Le « zero rating » était l’un des chevaux de bataille de l’autorité. Cette pratique consiste à ne pas décompter la consommation d’un service de l’enveloppe de données mensuelles d’un client, comme le pratiquait SFR avec YouTube à une époque. Les principaux opérateurs mobiles proposent des programmes aux autres entreprises. Contre rémunération, des services ou annonceurs peuvent exempter leurs sites et applications de toute consommation affichée.

    Le gendarme des télécoms avait réclamé des explications à AT&T et Verizon, estimant qu’ils bénéficiaient d’un avantage indu via leurs programmes de « zero rating » (voir notre analyse). En cause, les deux opérateurs fournissent leurs propres services vidéo, dont la consommation de données n’est pas décomptée du forfait. Si les concurrents peuvent bien souscrire à des conditions similaires, le fait que les opérateurs l’appliquent à des services intégrés à leur structure évite tout coût concret... Ce qui est un avantage important, jugeait l’autorité.

    #neutralité_internet #vectorialisme

  • La fin des blogs littéraires qu’Amazon va priver de revenus


    D’ailleurs, le géant de Seattle n’est pas une société de grands furieux : perdre des blogueurs en mesure de recommander des livres et de générer des ventes n’est assurément pas l’objectif final. En revanche, réduire leurs revenus permet d’améliorer les marges de l’entreprise – surtout dans une période où les livres papier se vendent mieux que les livres numériques. Avec la forte hausse de prix de ces derniers, les consommateurs se sont rabattus sur l’imprimé, qui parvient, dans certains cas, à être moins cher que le numérique. Amazon suit simplement les flux financiers.

    Donc, pas question de se priver de lecteurs/influenceurs/blogueurs chez Amazon : il suffirait de rapatrier leurs chroniques vers un espace privilégié, où elles trouveraient une place de choix. Cela tombe bien, Goodreads est un réseau de lecteurs racheté en mars 2013 par Amazon. Sur cet espace, les lecteurs peuvent – et sont vivement encouragés  ! – à publier des critiques de livres.

    Goodreads, l’autre pays de Cocagne

    Il suffirait de leur accorder des remises, bons de réductions et autres avantages, pour récupérer une partie des blogueurs désœuvrés de voir leurs revenus diminuer, pour en faire des utilisateurs heureux de Goodreads. La construction d’un empire absolu est en cours, et depuis, difficile de dire qui vendra encore des livres sur internet.

    Aux États-Unis, Amazon dispose aujourd’hui de 42 % de parts de marchés, ebook et papier confondus. Goodreads, de son côté, doit se sentir assez seul, n’ayant plus aucun autre concurrent encore en mesure de lui chatouiller le monopole.

    #Amazon #vectorialisme #blogs_de_lecteurs

  • Tech and the Fake Market tactic – Humane Tech – Medium

    Par Anil Dash

    In one generation, the Internet went from opening up new free markets to creating a series of Fake Markets that exploit society, without most media or politicians even noticing.

    But before long, those rankings started to be tainted by spammers, due to the fact that higher ranking in those listings suddenly had monetary value, and making spam links was cheaper than paying for Google’s advertising products. What was an open market to do?

    The inevitable automated gaming of the early open digital markets inadvertently catalyzed the start of the next era: rigged markets. Google got concerned about nefarious search engine optimization tricks, and kept changing their algorithm, meaning that pretty soon the only web publishers that could thrive were those who could afford to keep tweaking their technology to keep up in this new arms race. After just a few years, this became a rich-get-richer economy, and incentivized every smaller publisher to standardize on one of a few publishing tools in order to keep up with Google’s demands. Only the biggest content providers could afford to build their own tools while simultaneously following the demands of Google’s ever-changing algorithm.

    Amazon went through a similar process, when it started putting its thumb on the scale, showing its own products first when doing a product search, even if they weren’t the cheapest. We saw a rapid shift where the companies hosting formerly-open markets started to give themselves unfair advantages that couldn’t be countered by the other sellers in the market.

    That’s not to say these systems are fair: the big companies can pick which players in the market get to compete, and issues of network inequality mean people or companies that are privileged enough to be early adopters get unfair advantages. But even with these inequities, we could muddle through and new products or competitors could sometimes emerge.

    This has been the status quo for most of the last decade. But the next rising wave of tech innovators twist the definition of “market” even further, to a point where they aren’t actually markets at all.

    But unlike competitive sellers on eBay, Uber drivers can’t set their prices. In fact, prices can be (and regularly have been) changed unilaterally by Uber. And passengers can’t make informed choices about selecting a driver: The algorithm by which a passenger and driver are matched is opaque—to both the passenger and driver. In fact, as Data & Society’s research has shown, Uber has at times deliberately misrepresented the market of available cars by showing “ghost” cars to users in the Uber app.

    It seems this “market” has some awfully weird traits.

    Consumers can’t trust the information they’re being provided to make a purchasing decision.
    A single opaque algorithm defines which buyers are matched with which sellers.
    Sellers have no control over their own pricing or profit margins.
    Regulators see the genuine short-term consumer benefit but don’t realize the long-term harms that can arise.

    This is, by any reasonable definition, no market at all. One might even call Uber a “Fake Market”.

    Fake markets don’t just happen in traditional products and services — they’re coming to the world of content and publishing, too. Publishers are increasingly being incentivized to use platforms like Facebook’s Instant Articles and Google’s AMP format. Like Uber’s temporarily-subsidized cheaper prices and broader access to ride hailing, these new publishing formats do offer some short-term consumer benefits, in the form of faster loading times and a cleaner reading experience.

    But the technical mechanism by which Facebook and Google provide that faster reading experience happens to incidentally displace most of the third-party advertising platforms — the ones that aren’t provided by Facebook and Google themselves.

    By contrast, what are the barriers to self-driving news? We’ve already seen that a lot of news consumers aren’t interested in being safely and reliably delivered to accurate news. Success in this case will be much easier: A robotic publisher only has to deliver content that’s emotionally engaging enough to earn a person’s readership for a few moments. That’s even easier to do if the publisher or distributor of the content doesn’t care if the story is true or not. Peter Thiel is on Facebook’s board of directors.

    #marché #économie_numerique #vectorialisme