Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

How Amazon and Google Smart Speaker Competition Reveals The Future of Government | The Daily Bell

Posted by M. C. on December 11, 2017

Private governance is the culmination of the American dream of independence. For most of history government have been rulers and dictators. We now have the chance to have a government that truly serves.

I wouldn’t invite the Amazon Echo or the Google Home into my home.

These smart speakers listen to everything that happens around them. Ostensibly this is to make shopping, playing music, and finding information easy. But the internet of things presents way too many risks to our privacy.

Internet-connected technologies are already used to incriminate their owners in court. And that is the main thing which scares me. Self-driving cars, smart watches, and smart homes controlled entirely from your phone sound really cool and convenient. But I don’t want the government to have that kind of knowledge about me. I might feel differently if I knew the info wasn’t going anywhere beyond Google or Amazon headquarters.

An Industry in Need of a Shake-Up

Government is an industry. Much like other industries, it can be upset by upstart competitors. But governments have monopoly status in given territories for their services. They don’t allow competition, and they enforce this ban on competitors by using their monopoly on “legitimate” force…

The government continues to expand by convincing everyone that they can get government services while someone else pays for them. But what if consumers had to shop for the services they wanted?

Think about it. What do people really want a government for? A lifeline. We want to be able to call 911 and be whisked off to safety. We want police to respond to an immediate threat. It’s about having some sort of safety net in case something goes wrong.

With the Amazon Echo and Google Home, they can one-up 911 any day. They are always listening. If something happens, they know. And they can immediately get you assistance.

Except that they are still trying to work around regulatory rules which prohibit them from connecting you to 911. Apple’s Siri can connect you to 911 on devices that can make and receive phone calls. The Echo can currently only call other Echo devices.

Without government regulations in the way, smart speakers would be better than Life Alert for the elderly afraid of falling. They don’t need to be within reach to use. They are also better than a phone for calling 911 during a medical emergency, or even a home invasion.

In fact, soon, you won’t even have to direct the devices to make the call. Siri will soon sense from your fingertip when to call 911. Smart speakers will hear break-ins or recognize the sounds of domestic abuse. Your body will tell smartwatches when to call for help…

Now to be sure, all this technology is creepy. But most people have invited into their own lives. It wasn’t forced on us by an authoritarian government. My main concern is that the government will use it against people.

But what about in a world where governments know that they have to compete to provide people services?…

Governments have never been able to eradicate competition either, though they have tried violently. The only reason they can use violence in competition is because they have dominated the security sector for so long. They monopolize the “legitimate” use of force.

And still, some people have always managed to find their way to a friendlier jurisdiction.

Competing government where people don’t have to flee their homes means governments have very little leeway to oppress. Competition alone is a powerful check on power. “Siri, cancel my Google Government subscription. Alexa, sign me up for Amazon prime government.”

Be seeing you


I am not a number. I am a free man!-Number 6


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