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经济学人下载:驯服巨人:科技公司称霸网络(1)

Source: Economist    2018-04-16  我要投稿   论坛   Favorite  

Leaders
领导者

Taming the titans
驯服巨人

Google, Facebook and Amazon are increasingly dominant. How should they be controlled?
谷歌、Facebook和亚马逊的统治力越来越强。该如何控制它们?

Not long ago, being the boss of a big Western tech firm was a dream job.
不久前,在大型西方科技公司做老板还是一份让人梦寐以求的工作。

As the billions rolled in, so did the plaudits: Google, Facebook, Amazon and others were making the world a better place.
在亿万财富滚滚而来之时,还能收获交口称赞:谷歌、Facebook、亚马逊等公司正让世界变得更加美好。

Today these companies are accused of being BAADD—big, anti-competitive, addictive and destructive to democracy.
而今天,这些公司备受指责——规模太大、反竞争、令人上瘾、破坏民主。

Regulators fine them, politicians grill them and one-time backers warn of their power to cause harm.
监管机构对它们开出罚单,政客对它们严厉质询,曾经的支持者也发出警告,指出它们势力过大,可能造成危害。

Much of this techlash is misguided. The presumption that big businesses must necessarily be wicked is plain wrong.
大部分对科技企业的抵制都有失偏颇。大企业一定就邪恶这种推断完全错误。

Apple is to be admired as the world’s most valuable listed company for the simple reason that it makes things people want to buy, even while facing fierce competition.
世界上市值最高的上市公司苹果广受尊重,原因很简单:即便面临激烈的竞争,苹果仍能生产出消费者愿意买单的产品。

Many online services would be worse if their providers were smaller. Evidence for the link between smartphones and unhappiness is weak.
如果在线服务供应商的规模比实际上要小,很多服务的质量就要打折扣。没有强有力的证据证明智能手机与幸福感低之间有关联。

Fake news is not only an online phenomenon.
新闻也并非网络独有。

But big tech platforms, particularly Facebook, Google and Amazon, do indeed raise a worry about fair competition.
然而大型科技平台确实引发了对公平竞争的担忧,特别是Facebook、谷歌和亚马逊。

That is partly because they often benefit from legal exemptions.
原因之一是它们经常因免于承担法律责任而受益。

Unlike publishers, Facebook and Google are rarely held responsible for what users do on them; and for years most American buyers on Amazon did not pay sales tax.
与出版商不同,Facebook和谷歌很少为用户在其平台上的行为负责。多年来,亚马逊上的大部分美国买家都没有支付消费税。

Nor do the titans simply compete in a market. Increasingly, they are the market itself, providing the infrastructure (or “platforms”) for much of the digital economy.
这几个超级巨头也不只是在市场上竞争,它们正日益变成市场本身,为大部分数字经济提供基础设施(即“平台”)。

Many of their services appear to be free, but users “pay” for them by giving away their data.
它们的许多服务看似免费,但用户在交出自己的数据时实际就在“付费”了。

Powerful though they already are, their huge stockmarket valuations suggest that investors are counting on them to double or even triple in size in the next decade.
尽管它们已经实力强大,但其巨大的市值表明,投资者期待未来十年它们的规模能再增加一倍甚至两倍。

There is thus a justified fear that the tech titans will use their power to protect and extend their dominance, to the detriment of consumers.
因此有理由担心,科技巨头会利用自身实力来保护和扩大它们的主导地位,进而损害消费者的利益。

The tricky task for policymakers is to restrain them without unduly stifling innovation.
政策制定者面临的棘手任务是既要约束它们,又要避免过度约束而扼杀创新。


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