How Musk, Thiel, Zuckerberg, and Andreessen—Four Billionaire Techno-Oligarchs—Are Creating an Alternate, Autocratic Reality
In an excerpt from his new book, The End of Reality, the author warns about the curses of AI and transhumanism, presenting the moral case against superintelligence.
our very powerful billionaires—Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Marc Andreessen—are creating a world where “nothing is true and all is spectacle.” If we are to inquire how we got to a place of radical income inequality, post-truth reality, and the looming potential for a second American Civil War, we need look no further than these four—“the biggest wallets,” to paraphrase historian Timothy Snyder, “paying for the most blinding lights.”
I call them the Technocrats, in recognition of the influence of the technocracy movement, founded in the 1930s by Elon Musk’s grandfather, Joshua Haldeman. The Technocrats make up a kind of interlocking directorate of Silicon Valley, each investing in or sitting on the boards of the others’ companies. Their vast digital domain controls your personal information; affects how billions of people live, work, and love; and sows online chaos, inciting mob violence and sparking runs on stocks. These four men have long been regarded as technologically progressive heroes, but they are actually part of a broader antidemocratic, authoritarian turn within the tech world, deeply invested in preserving the status quo and in keeping their market-leadership positions or near-monopolies—and their multi-billion-dollar fortunes secure from higher taxes. (“Competition is for suckers,” Thiel once posited.)
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