Monopolies of Ideas

The internet has created an entirely new economy. It created the opportunity for small brewers to compete against big brewers. It created new channels of advertising and information sharing that allowed so many people to create something for themselves again.

With so many channels for information, we created algorithms to find them. The combination of opening the flood gates of creators and algorithms, is it possible that we are going to setup people that own monopolies not on a product or service, but on an idea?

Is that a good thing?

Is that a bad thing?

Does it have the same problem as a monopoly on a product where prices are gouged, service gets worse, and the customer suffers service quality as a result?

My initial thought is no. The algorithms are rewarding those who do the most, so to maintain the monopoly means doing the most for the idea. That is the inverse of traditional monopolies. The real problem would come (if it hasn’t already) when the algorithms get captured by money to achieve ranking rather than the best information. Then we all lose.

We’re in the age of learning what a digital strike looks like. This is just an extension of that idea, what sort of past issues will we have to revisit in the new (relative to industrial revolution) digital landscape?