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Rich young creeps and their creepy visions

What is it about young tech billionaires that makes them so creepy?

Partly, I’m sure, it’s the character flaws that they seem to have in common — hubris, arrogance, the assurance of superiority that goes along with their being very smart and having made themselves very rich. They also see themselves as visionaries who have been anointed to lead us all into a brave new techno-utopian future brought about by the consumption of their products (and in which, coincidentally, they will be even richer). They also tend to be monomaniacs: Their idea is the one true master key to our exciting utopian future.

Why is it that their visions of the future almost always make us gag?

Just yesterday, I came across a link on Facebook to an article in Wired magazine with the headline: “Why you will one day have a chip in your brain.” Thanks for the heads-up on that, Wired magazine.

Remember Google Glass? Back in 2013, a tech blogger wrote this about Google Glass: “According to Google CEO, Sergey Brin, Google’s latest product innovation is meant to end the social isolation of smartphones as you often miss the events going on around you while playing with your phone. Google Glass eliminates that distraction as you enjoy your life while wearing glasses and have all the functions and commands of your smartphone without having to divert your attention to your phone.” Wow, Sergey. What could go wrong?

To be fair to Elon Musk, he has a broader and more mature sense of the future than do some of the lesser tech billionaires, yet he also assumes that, without the gifts that tech entrepreneurs intend to bring us, our future will be a bleak and empty one. Just recently, in talking about space exploration, he said, “There have to be reasons you get up in the morning and want to live.” Thanks, Elon. I can’t wait.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg wants to bring us virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and a “global community” — with Facebook, of course, at the center of it. In his recent manifesto about the future of Facebook, Zuckerberg puts this line in bold: “In times like these, the most important thing we at Facebook can do is develop the social infrastructure to give people the power to build a global community that works for all of us.” Thanks for the infrastructure, Mr. Zuckerberg! And by the way, thanks for all the benefits your social infrastructure provided us during the 2016 election, particularly your focus on making your infrastructure (to use your words) supportive, safe, informed, civically engaged, and inclusive. With Facebook’s help, we’re sure on our way to building a super-duper global community!

And thanks, all you guys, for reminding me why I’m hiding in the woods.

Sergey Brin

Elon Musk

Mark Zuckerberg


  1. Henry wrote:

    Well, I’m 77 this year, and figure I have maybe 3,5 or 10 years left before I end up in a stream in Yosemite (as ashes)and there won’t be any place for a chip…;-)

    Thursday, July 6, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink
  2. Dan wrote:

    I’m currently watching Captain Fantastic, a 2016 film starring Viggo Mortensen, which is, uh, fantastic. You and Ken should watch it. It reminds me of your blog and the way you live: primitive and progressive.

    This film is making me think about how wrong everything is. Where would mankind be without science and how does leftism play into that? What does the future hold if we allow hateful, violent zealots to use technology to their advantage?

    Thursday, July 6, 2017 at 2:59 pm | Permalink
  3. daltoni wrote:

    Hi Dan… Captain Fantastic was on Ken’s movie list, and we watched it (and loved it) a while back. It’s a good conversation to have, and it’s an ongoing question here — where to draw the lines. As Captain Fantastic discovers, there is no easy answer (though some things are clear enough).

    Thursday, July 6, 2017 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

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