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Ticket Mania: Beatlemania Around Taylor Swift


Consider the conundrum of any vendor, monopoly or not, investing in artificial intelligence technology for the purpose of maximizing profits. There’s nothing wrong with that on the surface, or even a secondary market ticket exchange doing the same. An AI technology using bots can easily generate artificial shortages, creating a fan frenzy. Greed and profit are the ancient and most powerful motivators, and we have seen much worse behavior from companies in the past, all in the name of profits. In the 1970s and 1980s, Beech-Nut baby food, a subsidiary of Nestle S.A., sold fake apple juice for babies. It was labeled as baby juice, but it was only sugar water. Quoting the Orlando Sentinel article by Howard Means, “the new Beech-Nut president reiterated what the company’s attorney had told me back in March: that the phony apple juice had contained only ‘safe food ingredients’” (https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-xpm-1987-11-22-0160230149-story.html). With comments like that, it’s no surprise these things happen. We do not have to look very far to find example after example of companies that will do almost anything for profit.


Too many companies have too big a hold on our lives as consumers. In our last article (https://www.dbta.com/BigDataQuarterly/Articles/Fear-the-Unexpected-for-Which-One-Has-Refusedto-Prepare-156389.aspx), we made the point that Abbott’s Sturgis plant produced nearly 40% of all the U.S. baby formula supply.

Though they have not been declared a monopoly, as the old saying goes, “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.” Too many companies have too big a hold on the consumer, and the quest for profits makes it too easy for them to abuse this market dominance.

We need to learn from the past. Quoting from Teddy Roosevelt’s 1901 State of the Union message to Congress, “There is a widespread conviction in the minds of the American people that the great corporations known as trusts are in certain of their features and tendencies hurtful to the general welfare.” Roosevelt’s administration went on to break up Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company and J.P. Morgan’s Northern Securities company (https://www.politico.com/story/2018/12/03/this-day-in-politics-december-3-1027800).

Armed with modern technology like AI, these massive modern corporations have ways to manipulate consumers that were unheard of 100 years ago. Just look at how fake news permeates and manipulates our society today, and that is the most frightening aspect of this situation, if I’m being honest. I am happy that I have tickets to see “The Boss”—again—and I will probably pay more in 2 years if he tours again.

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