American Elephants

Tucker Carlson Exposes Google: Is Anyone Surprised? by The Elephant's Child

At National Review, there is a book review of “Life after Google” The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy, by George Gilder.

In the shadow of Mount Hood in Washington State, six miles west of the dam in the Columbia River that holds back the Dalles (rhymes with “pals”) rapids, Google maintains its main data center. Three glass-walled warehouses, each one 10 million cubic feet, contain 75,000 computer servers linked together by thousands of fiber-optic cables, all crammed together as tightly as possible to reduce any signal delays. High-security gates and fences keep out unwanted visitors, while ad­vanced millimeter-wave body scanners examine every person, employee, and visitor entering the building.

This is the heart of the Google empire, which today is worth almost $800 billion (the valuation of Google’s holding company, Alphabet), putting it only a couple of hundred billion dollars behind Apple Inc. and Amazon. As George Gilder notes in his new book, “empire” is a fitting word to describe Google. The size and reach of the company is unprecedented in the history of computing. Its ability to process an ever-growing database consisting of thousands of petabytes (“peta” meaning 1 quadrillion, or a million billion) and handle 1.5 trillion searches every year means that it powers large sections of the U.S. economy. It also shapes our culture and mindsetand increasingly our political system. Yet Google itself, Gilder argues, isn’t best understood as a business at all. It’s a utopian cult, powered not by technology but by a philosophyone could even say a theologythat is about to meet its nemesis.

Gilder, a cofounder of the Discovery Institute in Seattle, has a long record of debunking conventional notions about how the world works. His groundbreaking book Wealth and Poverty (1981) debunked the idea that capitalism is driven by greed; Men and Marriage (1986) overturned the notion that chasing down so-called deadbeat dads was good social policy. His book on the microchip revolution, Microcosm (1990), made Moore’s Lawthat the output of advanced digital technologies such as microchips will double every 18 monthsa household term.

In his new book, it’s Bell’s Law that gets the center spread. Named after Digital Equipment Corporation engineer Gordon Bell, Bell’s Law states that every decade a hundredfold drop in the price of processing power creates a new computer architecture. This is what is happening now, Gilder argues: A new architecture for handling data and information is taking shape that will shake the Google empire to its foundations.

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