What The TechnoBillionaire Missed About TechnoOptimism

What The TechnoBillionaire Missed About TechnoOptimism

Typically , any article that contains the one-sentence paragraph “I'm here to bring you good news” is written by someone who wants to buy your money, your vote, or your soul. As far as I know, browser pioneer and co-founder of the big venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, Marc Andreessen, is not running for president. But his techno-optimist manifesto, published this week (one of his habits), wants to fill his already bloated wallet and squeeze the enormous pressure facing human existence through the relentless pursuit of new, even risky, technology.

Andreessen's stock fell from the Olympus of advanced capitalism — Silicon Valley's Sand Dune Road — this week with a mixture of gratitude and anger. Technology is believed to be the main driver of human wealth and happiness. This is not a problem for me. Actually, I'm a tech optimist too - or at least I was before I read this article, which is a toxic term. Obviously, things like air conditioning, the Internet, rockets, and electric lighting fall safely in the "winner" column. As we enter the age of artificial intelligence, I am on the side of those who believe that the pursuit of profit is a good thing, even if it requires caution to ensure that the results are not catastrophic.

But Andreessen's article isn't just about the exceptional quality of the people who make these tools. It's a stunning statement of humanity's destiny as a technologically empowered super-species reborn like sub-author Ayn Rand. "Technology must be a violent attack on unknown forces to force them to bow before man." "We believe that we have been and will continue to be the masters of technology, not its slaves. A victim mentality is a curse to all aspects of life, including our relationship with technology. It is useless and self-destructive. We are not victims, we are victors ." (Emphasis added.) If this piece had a soundtrack, it would be Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries." Andreessen may have taken early retirement from "investing in Uber," but he's an Uberman. He even calls Friedrich Nietzsche one of the "saints of technological optimism." wrote as one.

Perhaps a better title for this article would be “The Tech Billionaire Manifesto” because it's not just about the undeniable desire for technology, but also about advanced capitalism that, as Andreessen tries to justify, offers dubious rewards to the winners of the system. . . According to him, the "capitalist technical machine" of the market is a producer of invaluable talent and products. Not to mention the staggering income inequality that affects the entire world and causes devastating political unrest. Andreessen said that money is the only motive that can achieve the great technological leaps that advance mankind. This would be something new for non-profit government workers and Internet inventors who are science enthusiasts. In fact, they have opposed any commercialization for many years.

Andreessen has said it opposes monopolies and regulatory takeovers. Perhaps that's what Microsoft believed when it buried its browser company, Netscape. But that's the empty statement of a man who served on Facebook's board for 15 years and is now dead. I would look at the minutes and see how many times he investigated the monopoly and lobbied at board meetings.

For Andreasen, advanced technology creates an abundance that elevates everyone. "We believe there is no conflict between capitalist profit and a social security system that protects the most vulnerable," he writes. But even if he doesn't realize it from his home in Atherton, California (the richest zip code in the country), the country he lives in offers a counterargument. Although the US has the most advanced technology in the world, the life expectancy of its citizens has decreased. Surely he is aware of the problem of homelessness in American cities, most acute in neighboring San Francisco? It might even read that the vast majority of average Americans can't afford a home, and 40% of them will struggle to cover $400 in unexpected expenses. It seems that the techno capitalist machine is not working for them. But don't worry: Andersen quotes Andy Warhol, who emphasizes how successful our system is because both the poor and the rich can enjoy Coca-Cola. Let them drink fresh water!

Interesting predictions about the future of technology from NYU marketing professor Scott Galloway

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