By World Economic Forum [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
On Thursday evening, George Soros, a Hedge fund veteran, started an attack on social media giants such as Google and Facebook, saying that they were a “menace” and accusing the tech titans of “deliberately engineering addiction” which is especially harmful to adolescents.
Soros compared the said platforms to gambling businesses, saying that they may be permanently damaging to human attention while talking during a World Economic Forum dinner in Davos.
He added that some tech firms might fall into “unholy marriages” with regimes that oppose the ideals of the Weste, which could, in turn, offer them with “totalitarian control the likes of which not even Aldous Huxley or George Orwell could have imagined.”
“They claim they are merely distributing information,” said Soros. “But the fact that they are near-monopoly distributors makes them public utilities, and should subject them to more stringent regulations aimed at preserving competition, innovation, and fair and open universal access.”
He added that the regulation which he called for would eventually be the undoing of giants. He said that the IT companies of the United States’ “days are numbered”, as their monopoly would ultimately be cracked by stronger rules and tax regimes.
Soros either did not hear or he completely decided to ignore, a heckler at the back of the room who asked why the investor himself has invested money into the tech giants in the past. His hedge fund continues to own shares that are worth millions of dollars in both Facebook and Alphabet, the parent company of Google.
On the subject of the cryptocurrency, bitcoin, Soros said that the cryptocurrency is “a speculation based on a misunderstanding” instead of an actual currency. He claimed that the price of the cryptocurrency would be “propped up by dictators” who will utilise it to “build their nest eggs”.
Soros has been a core donor to the Democrats. He also laid into the Trump, the Republican President, calling him a “temporary phenomenon” who will be gone by 2020.
Soros said that the businessman-turned-politician aspired to create a “mafia state.” However, Trump was being hindered by the constitution of the United States of America and the “vibrant civil society.”
“I consider the Trump administration a danger to the world,” said Soros. “Mankind’s ability to harness the forces of nature, both for constructive and destructive purposes, continues to grow while our ability to govern ourselves properly fluctuates, and is now at a low ebb.”