"They're making more money and their customers are getting what they want. There's nothing wrong with that. So why do I feel nervous?"
Because when people get what they want and this invariably comes from competition where a new upstart can use past advancements without having to do as much leg work it makes businesses uneasy. When the barriers for entry start to fall the incumbents worry. Especially if it delivers what people want.
"We're getting close to the point where almost anyone could potentially affect the behaviour of a significant proportion of humanity"
It is awful isnt it! For example the raspberry pi, a cheap product that people want for varying reasons and skill levels which lowers the entry bar for learning to use a computer but also for media systems/servers and god knows what else. I would guess television would be the same problem for newspapers and the internet certainly so for both. Look at the disruption caused by netflix and such. And the truly terrifying part is of course- the customer gets what they want. Oh the woe.
"We've democratised scale using tech. I don't think we've got our heads round that yet."
Democracy is scary. People dont necessarily do what others want (I am sure the internets vast content of porn is an issue for puritan types for example). People choosing instead of being told. Information flowing freely instead of from 'approved' sources. People picking the winners by actually wanting the product or service.
"Now the cloud has commoditised scale that could be weaponised by your marketing teams"
Get on the tin foil. We now have access to more information than before. Want something? Look not only at the seller description or the marketing information but also reviews. People have been moving away from adverts and the more they are pushed the further people move away.
"If products are successful, we demonstrably often fail to address scale issues later. Bitcoin mining is projected to require as much energy as Italy by the end of the year. Car fumes are now producing dangerously toxic air in major cities, which software engineers addressed by faking a fix. Data centres are operating at only around 10 per cent energy efficiency, which doesn't support our projected growth. Not having a scalable plan for a bit of new tech that would be beneficial to all is short sighted"
2 of these things are non-issues and one is because of this daft idea of ethically dictating the direction. Governments pushed people to diesel as the cleaner fuel, then realised they were wrong. On top of that they punish and attack Co2 output and then complain about the side effects of actually harmful toxic fumes. Both the result of detailed planning of the future without knowing the future.
The bitcoin and energy efficiency is a non-topic at best. This is why we have a market system, as resources reduce in availability the cost goes up. Maybe it ends bitcoin, maybe a solution is worked out. As efficiency becomes necessary it will be implemented or the users will be squeezed out. What works continues and what doesnt falls by the wayside.