“Methinks the lady [lord] doth protest too much” William Shakespeare
“Technological progress has merely provided society with a more efficient means of going backward.” Aldous Huxley
“If there is technological advance without social advance, there is, almost automatically, an increase in human misery.” Michael Harrington
“We all live in an operating system set up by the accelerating triad of war, capitalism and emergent artificial intelligence.” Steve Goodman
“When the tech platforms promised a future of ‘connection’, they were lying …The platforms locked us into their systems and made us easy pickings, ripe for extraction…We can — we must — dismantle the tech platforms … by forcing Silicon Valley to do the thing it fears most: interoperate”. Cory Doctorow
When Marc Andreesen (famed internet entrepreneur turned vulture capitalist) first dropped his gratuitous Techno-Anarchist-Capitalist Manifesto on an otherwise preoccupied population, I thought well this will fall on deft ears. But, despite being largely well-worn claptrap (i.e., Accelerationist and Neo-reactionist) it is causing quite a stir in policy circles, already chasing their own tails. Still, I was reluctant to enter the fray because I actually admire him as a self-made maniac, and several excellent critiques had already pointed out his many contradictions and afflictions (e.g., https://gilescrouch.medium.com/a-rebuttal-to-the-techno-capitalist-manifesto-f558d6dc8ffd). Nevertheless, in light of its appeal to burgeoning armies of fanatical fascists in America, I should at least attempt to place his “Techno-Optimist Manifesto” in the context of the emerging Techno-Feudalist reality.
While purported to be an optimist, there is more than a tad of pessimism in Andreesen, which is to say residual vitriol for those who don’t accept the cornucopic qualities of unbridled technological advance. Moreover, while not as frenzied perhaps as the typical manifesto, left behind to serve as a suicide note from a mass shooter (or Unabomber), it shares a measure of malignant malcontent and anti-academic disgust that many would hardly associate with our silicon saviors. It is down-right disconcerting to see real billionaires playing the Trump card (both literally and figuratively) of victimhood. The demagoguery of these Masterbaters of the Universe, however, is not unexpected. Nonetheless, Andreesen has probably earned a modicum of latitude as well as…