Killer app of AI is advertising

The impact of Big Tech’s planned obsolescence model on the environment is devastating. However, for Big Tech, the more materials it uses to create new products, the more money it makes. The more waste Big Tech produces, the more money it makes. The less reusable and repairable and recyclable Big Tech makes its products, the more money it makes. And Big Tech—never sated, always wanting more—begins to act like a super-virus, spreading everywhere. Cars become computers on wheels, toys become e-toys, appliances become ‘smart’, cigarettes become disposable vapes, even clothes and shoes and suitcases get chips and batteries. Every industry is now a subsidiary of Big Tech. Everything—everything—digital touches becomes more fragile and with a shorter life, becomes less fixable. The e-waste grows like a tsunami, with much of it hidden in rotting teddy bears and ripped sneakers in the Global South where it arrived by the container load—yet one more gift from the Global North consumer.

By the early 2020s, the Big Tech hype train was beginning to show strains. Some consumers were trying to deal with their debilitating brand addictions. Trust in Big Tech was showing clear signs of decline, particularly in the Global North, though tragically in the Global South, the magic and promise of a better technological tomorrow still held much sway. If you looked closely, though, at those amazing new features—with their innovative marketing and superb branding—they were not so impressive, because when stripped of their magical dust, well, they were hard to justify, they didn’t do much that was useful. Then along came AI! The Big Tech hype train got one more throw of the magical dust. The grift grinds on and grinds down our environment.

What’s AI’s killer app? Advertising. It’s advertising. That’s it. The killer app of AI is selling ads. All sorts of ads. Ads for botox injections. Ads for political gangsters. Ads to destroy democracy. Ads for selfishness and greed. Ads for speed. Ads for climate change denial. Ads for two-ton SUV environment killers. Ads for child abusers masking as social media entrepreneurs. Millions and millions of ads for cheap and disposable crap. Ads. Ads. Ads. No industry—even oil—has done more damage to our environment than the advertising industry. None. Ever. Google is an advertising agency. Facebook is an advertising agency.

The perfect Big Tech customer is a functioning addict. Someone who can still get up and go to work and earn money that Big Tech will siphon through its drip connected from the smartphone to the brain. For a long time, the tech bros have been focused on engagement and addiction, and AI is key to the next-level targeting, trapping, manipulation, preying on and enslaving of that addict. And they want to grab that addict as young as possible. It’s legalized child abuse, legalized adult abuse.

AI is key to the future of the advertising industry, the gambling industry, the political extremism industry, all the industries that seek to manipulate and profit from human weakness. Facebook and Google are digital pimps and pushers, particularly targeting young children and the disadvantaged. That’s capitalism, we’re told. Grin and bear it. Except that overconsumption fueled by advertising has turned the consuming into a devouring of our environment.

Podcast: World Wide Waste
Interviews with prominent thinkers outlining what can be done to make digital as sustainable as possible.
Listen to episodes