Silicon Valley – a force for capital accumulation?
Or are they Utopian revolutionaries? Ouch… @bentarnoff has written about why some people hate the tech industry in an article called Gaffes, ignorance and PR nightmares: why it’s so easy to hate the tech industry for the Guardian.
“The reality is that Silicon Valley isn’t a force for good or evil, but something more prosaic: a force for capital accumulation. Its executives may talk about radical transformation, but their transformations aren’t particularly radical.
No one would dispute that companies such as Apple, Facebook and Google have changed much about our lives. But compared with the extraordinary innovations of the 20th century, and the expectations these produced about a space-faring, Jetsonian future, the world of apps looks pretty meager.
Peter Thiel, whose contrarianism runs so deep it even out-contrarians the contrarians of Silicon Valley, puts it perfectly: “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters.”
What’s changed even less, however, is the economic regime where these modest transformations take place. Tech elites may like to think of themselves as rule-breakers, but they play by the same rules as the rest of American capitalism.”
Elsewhere Bentarnoff writes…
“The most important thing to understand about tech elites is that they’re idealists. When they talk about changing the world, they mean it. This is hard for outside observers to understand, who are often inclined to dismiss tech’s transformational rhetoric as hackneyed marketing chatter. It may be hackneyed, but it is also deeply felt among industry leaders.
Personally I have no problems with idealism or wanting to change the world. In fact I wish more businesses wanted to do just that. The reality is that technology has the power to reshape culture often in ways that are unexpected.
Enlightened self interest can be a force for change but it also needs fuller disclosure.
Part of the reason for the mixed messages we do hear from the tech sector is that media commentators and the media itself are not funded with the public interest in mind.
Expecting a media industry which is funded by commercial interests to hold anyone to account is deluded.
Just this morning I read a pr fluff piece from a sector lobbyist in one of the local newspapers.
The publishers disclosed the source and the writer without stating it was an opinion piece but they only added the source at the bottom of the content forcing readers to scroll down there and that inflates the readership metrics for the paper but not it’s usefulness.
Speaking of flying cars. Apparently there is a prototype that is now up to version 3 called the Aeromobil. It looks more like a folding plane you can drive on the road. I read elsewhere that an earlier version crashed. A press release from that company suggests that the flying car project is still alive.
I am not sure why in 2016 anyone even wants to go to an office to work but there is probably a market somewhere for flying cars.
Like the idea of flying cars I would suggest that the best tech dreams will find a way. I also note that @bentarnoff is obviously a Startrek fan for what it’s worth.