Originally published November 1, 2017 on The Huffington Post
Tech companies are part of an all-too-familiar pattern. First, resist and decry all reasonable regulations, thereby asserting repeatedly that there are no regulations that are acceptable. Second, engage in and/or allow disreputable behavior (provide a platform for disinformation, hate speech, unscrupulous ads by foreign governments). Third, do everything possible to ensure that a backlash is inevitable resulting in onerous regulations, the very things one adamantly opposed in the first place.
Tech companies have only themselves to blame. By not acting responsibly, by being unable and unwilling to consider how all of their marvelous and wondrous creations would be both abused and misused, and by not engaging in proper steps to mitigate harmful actions and behavior, they have made the need for severe regulations abundantly clear.
In short, they are no better than those industries such as tobacco that have come before them and resisted all reasonable regulations until they were forced on them. But then, what does one expect of an industry run primarily by young socially immature males?
This post is based on a forthcoming book: Out of Control: Combatting Technology Run Amok, Columbia University Press.