It was a tough week in tech.
The top US health official warned about the risks of social media to young people; tech billionaire Elon Musk further trashed his reputation with the disastrous Twitter launch of a presidential campaign; and senior executives at OpenAI, makers of ChatGPT, called for the urgent regulation of “super intelligence”.
But to Doug Rushkoff – a leading digital age theorist, early cyberpunk and professor at City University of New York – the triple whammy of rough events represented some timely corrective justice for the tech barons of Silicon Valley. And more may be to come as new developments in tech come ever thicker and faster.
“They’re torturing themselves now, which is kind of fun to see. They’re afraid that their little AIs are going to come for them. They’re apocalyptic, and so existential, because they have no connection to real life and how things work. They’re afraid the AIs are going to be as mean to them as they’ve been to us,” Rushkoff told The Guardian in an interview.
In his most recent book, last year’s Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires, Rushkoff strung together a series of observations about the tech elite, often gleaned from his may encounters at conferences and private lectures with them.
Rushkoff said that he believes that the tech billionaires are in escape mode – planning missions to Mars, creating island bunkers or moving to higher ground – in the event of “The Event”( code for catastrophic climate collapse) and by creating a virtual “metaverse”, fulfilling the prophecy that the tech revolution was always about preparing us for a world in which it was no longer possible to go outside.
He’s called this “The Mindset” – an analysis of the way SiliconRead more on theguardian.com