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IQ2 Debate: Tear Down the Tech Giants

When today’s tech giants burst into Silicon Valley, we welcomed them as new blood disrupting the old-school media oligarchy.

These new kids on the block  Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple – have since gone on to become the most powerful media monopolies we've ever seen.

We have, perhaps unwittingly, granted them this status. We've handed the tech giants great power, international influence and all our personal data. They don’t pay for it, yet sell it to organisations who will. They've even bounced off attempt after attempt for regulation and tax restrictions proving they're more powerful than governments and nation states.

As annoying as that may be, it’s hard to imagine conscientiously excluding them from our lives. It’s near impossible to not use some combination of them thanks to the conveniences they offer us.

The tech giants have changed the way we live. They shape the way we communicate with each other, our  economy and even the last US election and democracy itself. They've torn down industries and given birth to entirely new ones.

Have we given them too much influence? Watch the full video from the evening, and find out the outcome of the audience vote!

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Amanda Brown, formerly of The Go-Betweens, is a screen composer and musician. She is a writer, director, board member, and ambassador of APRA AMCOS the licencing and royalties body that represents composers, music publishers, and songwriters and is passionate about fair pay for creators. Amanda believes the success of the biggest tech giant Google is due to the work of content creators who aren’t fairly rewarded.

John McDuling covered media and technology as journalist for Quartz in New York and is now a senior writer and columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald. For him, the tech giants want nothing less than every slice of the market pie. He says their product is addiction, so let’s look up from our screens before it’s too late. Follow John: @jmcduling


Alan Jones is an angel investor who builds startups. His official title at BlueChilli is ‘entrepreneur in residence’. The founding investor of Startmate and Blackbird Ventures also works in KPMG’s High Growth Ventures team. Previously, Alan was the South Asia product director of Yahoo!. He sees the value of tech companies great, small, established and fresh. Follow Alan: @bigyahu

Claire Reilly is senior editor at CNET, a website covering all things tech and digital. She produces written and video work on everything from smartphones to telco infrastructure. Claire says we can demand better standards from the tech giants, as consumers we have the power to positively influence them, and talk of tearing them down denies their positive impacts. Follow Claire: @reillystyley