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科技巨擘会取代福利国家?(双语)

cocotang 于2015-08-18发布 l 已有人浏览
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这是典型的硅谷剧本:提供免费服务,只要你能将你的“慈善行为”货币化。谷歌(Google)和斯里兰卡政府关于在该国全境覆盖免费WIFI的协议只是最新的例子。在几个月内,这家搜索巨头已经自愿为若干美国公共住房项目提供高速互联网,并为纽约人提供免费公共WIFI

It is the classic Silicon Valley playbook: offer free services so long as you can monetise your own benevolence. A deal struck between Google and the Sri Lankan government to cover the entire country with free WiFi is merely the latest example. In just a few months, the search giant has volunteered to provide fast internet to a scattering of American public housing projects and run free public WiFi for New Yorkers. 

这是典型的硅谷剧本:提供免费服务,只要你能将你的“慈善行为”货币化。谷歌(Google)和斯里兰卡政府关于在该国全境覆盖免费WIFI的协议只是最新的例子。在几个月内,这家搜索巨头已经自愿为若干美国公共住房项目提供高速互联网,并为纽约人提供免费公共WIFI。 

Facebook is doing something similar, betting that connecting people via its internet.org initiative will eventually pay off via advertising. 

Facebook也在做类似的事情,认为通过internet.org项目为人们提供连接,最终能通过广告获得回报。 

This trade-off has become familiar to anyone who uses a search engine or a web-based email provider: a nominally free service in exchange for personal data. But these may just be the beginning. As Silicon Valley aggregates many other types of data related to health, education, transportation, energy, the range of such free services will expand dramatically. It is even possible to imagine that their scope might one day encompass so much as to become a de facto replacement for the welfare state. 

任何使用搜索引擎或者基于网页的邮件服务的人都已熟悉这种做法:用名义上免费的服务换取个人数据。但这或许只是开始。随着硅谷对与健康、教育、交通、能源相关的许多其他类型的数据进行聚合,这类免费服务的范围将会显著扩大。甚至可以想象有那么一天,这类服务涵盖的范围变得极大,以至于从事实上取代了福利国家的角色。  

Consider, for example, the healthcare business. In the past, its main job has been to cure disease, and in many parts of the world its efforts have been paid for by the government. That is about to change.

以医疗行业为例。过去医疗的主要任务是治愈疾病,在世界的很多地方,这种努力是由政府来支付经费的。这种情况马上就要改变了。 

Our physical activity can now be constantly monitored by wearable sensors, holding out the promise that the focus of healthcare provision can shift from making people better to preventing them from becoming ill in the first place. Diseases will be detected by patients themselves, at a very early stage, and technology companies rather than governments will foot the bills. What was once a publicly funded safety net will become a private smorgasbord of free services. 

如今,穿戴式传感器能够持续监测我们的身体活动,这有望使提供医疗服务的重点从病后治疗转为从一开始就预防得病。患者将在非常初期的阶段自行检测到疾病,而这笔费用将由科技公司而非政府来买单。曾经由政府出资支持的社会保障安全网,将会变成自助式的免费私人服务。 

Technology giants have already disrupted every industry they have touched. Now the disrupters are turning on social democracy itself. 

科技巨头已经搅乱了它们涉足的每一个产业。如今这些颠覆者又瞄准了社会民主主义。 

Granted, the Silicon Valley model of welfare provision might seem strange. For one thing, it is volatile: funded by advertising, it might collapse any day. 

诚然,硅谷提供福利的模式看起来可能很奇怪。首先这种模式很不稳定:资金依靠广告,可能在任何一天崩溃。 

And its services are often a mere shadow of the universalist ambitions inherent in a state school system, or a public broadcaster such as the BBC. It might say “free” on the cover, but look inside and there are hidden constraints. Internet.org gets you online and costs you nothing. But this “online” is limited only to a handful of apps — Facebook, of course, among them. 

而且,其服务往往只是公立学校体系或者像英国广播公司(BBC)这样的公共广播公司天生具有的普世主义抱负的一道影子。表面上写着“免费”,实则存在限制。Internet.org提供上网连接且不收任何费用。但是这种“上网”仅限于使用少数应用——当然,Facebook是其中之一。

An inferior internet connection is better than none at all — this, at least, is how Silicon Valley justifies itself. The same would go, perhaps, for education and healthcare, too.

低级的互联网连接总好过没有网络——至少硅谷是这么为自己辩解的。同样的情况也可能发生在教育和医疗领域。 

If companies can make a profit trading personal data for services that the state used to pay for out of taxes, it is perhaps tempting to let them. But where would it leave today’s political parties? 

如果企业提供原本由国家利用税金来支付的服务以换取个人数据,并能从中获利,放任它们这样做或许颇为诱人。但这样政党又该立于何地?

On past form, parties of the right and centre-right will lean towards the Silicon Valley option; the additional welfare it provides is a nice and unexpected bonus. The radical left will opt to lessen their dependence on internet entrepreneurs in much the same way that a previous generation of leftists fought ExxonMobil and United Fruit. 

按照过去的模式,右翼和中右翼党派会倾向于支持硅谷的做法;硅谷提供的额外福利是令人愉悦又意想不到的红利。激进的左派会选择减少对互联网企业的依赖,大致与上一代左派人士同埃克森美孚(ExxonMobil)和联合果品(United Fruit)斗争的方式相同。

What of the parties of the centre left? They have most to lose, as an endorsement of the Silicon Valley’s welfare model would be a declaration of their own irrelevance. Broadly sympathetic to the idea of putting more of the economy in private hands, they can neither attack Silicon Valley nor offer better welfare. And they increasingly lack credibility. Germany’s Social Democrats, for instance, might not like the precarity of the “gig economy”. But is it really so different from their own “minijobs” labour reform from a decade ago?

那么中左翼党派呢?它们的损失最大,因为赞同硅谷的福利模式就是承认自身将无足轻重。由于大体上认同更多由私人掌管经济的理念,它们既不能攻击硅谷,也无法提供更好的福利。且它们的公信力正日益下降。比如,德国的社会民主党(Social Democrat)可能不喜欢过早出现的“零工经济”。但是这和它们10年前推行的“迷你工作”劳动改革真的有很大区别吗? 

The choice is unenviable. But if Silicon Valley takes on the welfare state at its own game, the champions of social democracy must either disrupt then, or be disrupted themselves.

选择是艰难的。但如果硅谷在提供福利方面与福利国家竞争,社会民主主义的拥护者必须要么扰乱它们,要么受其扰乱。 

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