Column: Elon Musk is breaking his new toy. Will it cost us our democracy?
Elon Musk unveiled his rocket and driverless car, but his brand’s biggest breakthrough may come from his new toy: his company’s brand-new phone.
In what was billed as the ‘end of history for the smartphone’, the CEO of Tesla has unveiled his brand-new phone. The most talked-about product in tech history, the $2,500 phone has been in construction since last September. Elon Musk is going to call it Model 3.
The phone features a new user interface, which will debut on a prototype in March, and it was reportedly designed by Google’s Sundar Pichai. The UI combines the three most popular design trends in tech: the minimalist, the skeuomorphic and the minimalist with skeuomorphic. That combination is supposed to add a new layer of innovation to our phones.
But it also brings up a big question. Will it raise questions about the future of our democratic system?
As an economist I believe that technology is a valuable mechanism for enhancing society. The more people use technology, the more our culture will be changed and enriched, and we should take that into consideration as a whole. But I also believe that we cannot afford to be complacent about this.
And when it comes to technological advancements that can be used to undermine the democratic system, I don’t believe that we can afford to ignore them.
The problem with smartphones is that they are tools that enable us to spy on our fellow citizens. And as technology becomes increasingly more advanced, that has the potential to get worse. This is a problem that I’ve been warning about for years.
In 2009, I wrote an article in Forbes titled “The iPhone Will Raise the Age of Surveillance” about how our phones already spy on us. In the same article I argued that the technology will be even more invasive as the phone becomes more powerful and our phones become more ubiquitous.
At the time I wrote my article, the biggest threat to our privacy and democratic system was Google’s