Is the Ad-Tech model powering the Internet really just the next financial bubble?
That is the question at the heart of a significant new book by Internet researcher Tim Hwang: Subprime Attention Crisis: Advertising and the Time Bomb at the Heart of the Internet. If you don’t already know Tim, he’s is a polymath: former Google AI policy wonk, lawyer, polemicist. In other words, just the kind of thinker we think you should know. Watch the video of a virtual book event with Tim here:
Subprime Attention Crisis makes the case that the core advertising model driving Google, Facebook, and many of the most powerful companies on the internet is—at its heart—a multibillion dollar financial bubble. Drawing parallels to the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis, Tim shines a spotlight on the lack of transparency, flawed incentives, and outright fraud that keep this machine running.
On October 14, the Internet Archive hosted a talk with the author and New York Times technology reporter Kashmir Hill. Their discussion tackled:
- Why data-driven, online advertising may be much, much less effective than it looks
- The long-term impact of the COVID-19 recession on the media and online ads
- Whether or not the giants of Big Tech are already “too big to fail”
This discussion focused not only on the problems of advertising, but also on the future, and how we might be able to transition to a better, more financially robust internet. Joining the discussion was Desigan Chinniah, who co-leads Grant for the Web—a $100 million fund launched by Coil, Mozilla, and Creative Commons to spur open standards and new economic models for the web beyond advertising.