Malcolm Harris writes for Wired magazine about Doug Rushkoff, a techno optimist who had his predictions and assumptions about the future challenged. As a consequence, Rushkoff had to overhaul his outlook on technology. Rushkoff is a prolific author and Harris writes about his various books, including one called Survival of the Fittest.
The bulk of Survival of the Richest isn’t about apocalypse escape routes for the super-wealthy. It’s preoccupied with something Rushkoff calls The Mindset, which roughly translates to “the way Silicon Valley technocrats think.” The Mindset is about a strategy of acceleration without a destination. It’s about blowing up humanity’s corpus of existing knowledge in favor of something—anything—new. In this relentless drive, Rushkoff perceives a self-destructive impulse. “Instead of just lording over us forever,” he writes, “the billionaires at the top of these virtual pyramids actively seek the endgame. Like the plot of a Marvel blockbuster, the structure of The Mindset requires an endgame. Everything must resolve to a one or a zero, a winner or loser, the saved or the damned.” This isn’t just Facebook’s old “Move fast and break things” motto; it’s Zuckerberg’s personal mantra: “Domination!” Why are the world’s richest people obsessed with preparing for the apocalypse? Because they’re edging us all toward it. It’s as if, Rushkoff writes, they’re trying to build a car that goes fast enough to escape from its own exhaust.
Rushkoff actually had some of these technocrats invite him to talk with them about how to escape from the mess they've made when it all comes crumbling down. If that kind of thing won't shake your faith in the inevitable progress that is pushed by Silicon Valley, I don't know what would.
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