Terms of Disservice Book Launch

Terms of Disservice Book Launch

June 18, 2020

Monday, June 15, 2020 – The Shorenstein Center hosted an online book launch for Terms of Disservice, authored by senior fellow and co-director of the Digital Platforms & Democracy Project, Dipayan Ghosh. The event featured Shorenstein Center director Nancy Gibbs, former Hillary Clinton 2016 campaign manager and HKS Defending Digital Democracy program director Robby Mook, and Politico chief technology correspondent Mark Scott, discussing the structure of the modern digital economy and its interface with social issues in America today.

Ghosh contends that the business model underlying the consumer internet sector implicates our welfare from economic, political, and social perspectives. Terms of Disservice (Brookings Institution Press) attempts to chart out a path forward for a new digital social contract to establish better economic equity.

Key findings in Terms of Disservice include:

  • “The exploitative rake of data and attention on the path to natural monopoly”: The dominant internet firms deal in a novel currency with consumers based on data and attention — and through it have become natural monopolies.
  • “The radical commercialization of decision making”: Personal data is collected at a mind-blowing rate and level of granularity. Internet firms engage in radical, “commercialized bias” — and have marketized the segmentation and splicing of society.
  • “The dilemma of attending to content policy reform”: Our immediate attention to matters of content policy reform is misplaced; the more important target in the realm of Big Tech reform is fundamental economic regulation of the industry.