Big tech and the science of social scaling

Big tech and the science of social scaling

Big tech and the science of social scaling

Network effects, Metcalfe’s law, or demand-side economies of scale — whatever you choose to call it, this phenomenon fueled the explosive growth of our digital world. When someone else joins the network, my device or service becomes more valuable. And when the network becomes larger and more valuable, the incentive you have to join the network becomes greater, too. By linking nodes, devices, and people together, this upward spiral created today’s hyper-scale networks . . . and hyper-scale companies.

The measurable value of the internet for consumers is immense and so are the tougher-to-measure consumer surpluses — all those hidden free benefits that don’t appear on any ledger.

In the past few years, however, many began to worry about the downsides of hyper-scale entities. Nicholas Carr called it The Shallows. Tim Wu’s new book is The Curse of Bigness. Farhad Manjoo calls the Silicon Valley giants the “frightful five.” For most people, it’s just Big Tech. The bigger these companies get, the theory goes, the bigger yet they can and will get, until they swallow everything.

 

To find out more go to: https://www.aei.org/publication/big-tech-and-the-science-of-social-scaling/