[Podcast] The slow web: towards a more ethical vision of the Internet
Tariq Krim is an entrepreneur, founder of Netvibes, a globally successful service, he is now engaged in the slow web with dissident.ai.
I have known Tariq for years and the least we can say is that he was always ahead of his time.
With Tariq, I try to understand what the slow web is or in any case what a more ethical web could look like.
I imagine this is a conversation you have regularly at these dinners where we change the world. This episode is kind of my version of this conversation with an enthralling Tariq.
The slow web, in a few words
When you hear “Slow web” you probably mean “disconnect” but that’s not the point at all.
As Tariq reminds us, the “slow food” trend was built in opposition to fast food, but there was never any question of eating a bad hamburger more slowly.
This idea must even make you smile the moment you read it.
Slow food means choosing good organic ingredients, taking the time to cook, invite friends, etc.
In the same way for the Internet, the idea is not to slow down the use of a “sick” web but to consider the web differently.
The digital oligarchy of GAFA has imposed a model in which the consumer is no longer at the center, if not as a product whose brands consume the data.
In addition, somewhere social networks have created an alternative social reality that poses a real public health problem because in a world of distorted reality, your life always seems insufficient.
As Tariq points out, we are constantly pressured because we always have the impression that we are missing something.
He is not mistaken when he mentions the increase in the number of suicides among the youngest. Rates have never been higher.
For Tariq, we must therefore ask the question of the possibility of another model.
Autopsy of societal malaise
The question remains to know if it is necessary to question the model… isn’t it playing the game of marketing of fear by brandishing artificial intelligence and algorithms at all costs?
According to Tariq, this is essential because we have lost control of our digital life.
as he reminds us, before the iPhone, we owned all of our data: our files, our music, our films and especially our preferences and our relationships, but with the cloud, we gave others the possibility of managing our private space.
Today, we no longer really have control over how we wish to interact with the world.
If before I could choose which news feeds I would read, today everything we see has been selected by a third party without my realizing it and this can be used by advertising: showing a sad story of a friend to sell you a vacation through an advertisement for example because we know that you will then be more sensitive to it.
Social networks and their algorithms can define how you are going to feel because they know you better than you do.
Tariq asserts it: an algorithm is never neutral.
Machines should not be able to control our lives, humans should remain at the center and machines should be there to serve us.
On a large scale this also poses political problems because today we are almost able to serve a different message for each person according to his expectations and this person will not be able to achieve it.
Moreover, on a smaller scale, this is already the case on Google, the search results differ from one person to another depending on a multitude of criteria. It is the famous “filter bubble” decried by Eli Pariser.
We therefore draw the limit of the system fairly well
It is therefore a question of going back to basics of what was the original vision of the web with benevolent communities, of putting people at the center, of making sure to limit notifications, of not doing “branding”. »Etc …
The slow web: towards which model?
According to Tariq, there is a place to be taken between the American model where everything is monetized and the Chinese model in which everything is controlled.
We have to reinvent new models and find ways for other models to exist.
A certain number of questions arise, for example: “Why do you want to be a unicorn at all costs?” “
Perhaps offering an offer to a smaller target who needs the service offered makes more sense because wanting to offer a unique web model at all costs is not very healthy.
There are obviously no simple answers because the ecosystem is built in such a way that to exist you have to use the same techniques that you are trying to fight.
This implies that in order to exist one must be widely used.
However, according to Tariq, there are at least 3 beginnings of an answer:
– Return to open standards or even force the opening of platforms.
– Create data interoperability from one service to another (much more than what the GRDP allows today)
– Respect privacy, the user’s brain
An opinion from your side?
Gregory Pouy is the founder of LaMercatique, a digital transformation consulting firm focused on the marketing part. Based between New York and Paris, he is a marketing “expert” for FrenchWeb.fr. To follow his writings and exchange with him