Apparently, the "new Gods" of Silicon Valley are having some problems. I read here and there about many failures and layoffs from the social sector to that of cryptocurrency platforms, passing through other technological stocks. Tough times for employees, but no soft times for Big Tech leaders and their vision.
The vision. What for years has led us to consider anyone who brings a product to the market as a "visionary genius", whether it fails or succeeds (and at whatever cost, they do both). Think Different, right? Just have a dream and the will to work hard and anything is possible, right? Or not?
What does "having a vision" mean, then? If vision is one that allows you to see through the fog of uncertainty and make billions of dollars while everyone else loses theirs, perhaps the tech billionaires have lost it a bit.
Or maybe the vision is another.
Minute-by-minute coverage of all of the Twitter reverses, or the global levels of interest in the FTX crash go far beyond mere curiosity or outright interest. The attention for those who pass from the altar to the dust is the same as always, since the dawn of time. The same mechanism of deification and then of stoning: but is it just a matter of "popular obsession"?
What moves the "big guns" of technology, other than the pursuit of growth? It's easy to assume that money is all that motivates the likes of Zuckerberg, Musk, and Bezos—in fact, if you begin to examine the mindsets of these men, it turns out that money is only part of the vision.
We want to talk about effective altruism...
A few weeks ago, the world's second largest cryptocurrency exchange FTX announced that it was suddenly (?) $8 billion short and plans to file for bankruptcy. Among the first skirmishes of a battle that could be protracted, or painful, in court, the personal guiding principles of the CEO of FTX, the millennial emerge Sam Bankman-Fried. Sam would have been drawn to cryptocurrencies and their world by his vision of a world based on effective altruism. Things?
Effective altruism - It's a philosophy and movement that advocates using evidence and reason to determine the most effective ways to improve the world. I translate: the more you earn, the more you can donate. I translate again: it is utilitarianism with a "scent" of divinity.
After the spectacular collapse of his company, even this "doctrine" is not doing well. It's hard to believe you're capable or entitled to make decisions for humanity when you can't even keep your clients' money safe.
Last week a reporter from Insider Julia Black, launched his "j'accuse" against the billionaires of Silicon Valley, committed to a real eugenics program through a movement called "pronatalism".
Pronatalism would be sort of ideology focused on reversing the declining birth rate in European countries, and avoiding the collapse of society. And it is reportedly catching on in "wealthy circles of financiers, technocrats and venture capitalists." Musk has supported pronatalist ideas publicly. And she would also be playing him privately, with at least 10 known children. Black sees a certain tendency in this philosophy in search of immortality (intercom Altos Labs, the Bezos company that that immortality he's really chasing her).
A vision that, in order to become reality, must totally control the scenario. A bit like the vision of "radical transparency" on which Meta was founded. The belief that sharing any aspect of our lives will result in a social good: the metaverse, its natural consequence, would not bring social networks into our lives (as they already are now) but us to live to a certain extent directly in a social network.
The 9,4 billion losses that Meta has collected can they be considered a response to this vision?
The fall of the Gods
Silicon Valley and its missionary outposts, in short, are not driven solely by the pursuit of growth, which is a means to an end. The underlying raison d'être that binds these various titans of technology together is their fervor to enact their own "personal theological vision," in supposed service to the rest of the world.
We shouldn't have treated these corporate monoliths as ordinary businesses. We shouldn't have let them get near-total monopolies, because they're not just fighting for our attention, our money, or our data. They are fighting for the right to shape the shape of our societies and our lives.
This is why it is so important when a "vision" staggers, or collapses. For this we need to understand if the "sorcerer's apprentices" of a few years ago are now aspiring Gods who are returning to a more human dimension, or are taking a run to jump even further.