Silicon Valley Ideology: Utopian-Dystopia

Silicon Valley “leaders” continue to put forward ideas about a techno-utopia for them that continues to read as dystopian to so many groups who have been left out of the process of shaping the social-technical future that SV “leaders” envision.  These include:

  • A-Historicalism: Somehow we arrived here in the current technology landscape without any history about how we arrived here including leaving out some past architects. The United States didn’t come to be via it’s occupation of indigenous land and the genocide of first nations people, there was no trans-atlantic slave trade, or Jim Crow or 100 years of federal laws discriminating against non-white people. Women were always just equal and there are no struggle for women’s rights.
  • Universal – Individualism: Western Thought centers the individual and claims this perspective is universal. When social tools are built with this philosophy they are creating networked individuals that centers the young masculine archetype.
  • Transhumanism: We are going to upload our brains into computers and live forever and therefore human bodies and human emotions that flow through those bodies don’t matter.
  • Singularity is Coming: Machines will become more intelligent than us and the singularity – the crossover point where this becomes true is fast approaching. Then the machines will be in charge absent from learning from us first.
  • The Diversity Myth: This book was written by Silicon Valley Investor and Facebook board member Peter Thiel after being a law student at Stanford when there was a push to diversify required university courses on Western Civilization.  There was also racially motivated hate speech directed at black students. He goes to great lengths to dismiss their identity and the fact that what happened was even a problem.
  • Ayn Randian Ideology: A proactive selfishness. Money is worshiped as an absolute good. Concern for other humans, communities or the planet are set aside for the self.
  • Neurotechnology: This recent article in the Guardian shares remarks of Elon Musk at the World Government Summit, stating that humans would need to become cyborgs with machine intelligence directly connected to our brains to remain economically valuable.
  • The Google Memo: Asserts that discrimination exists but it should not be corrected with the use of reverse discrimination. The premise is that any diversity policies are based solely on ideology instead of science. The memo sighted research that indicated that women and minorities were predisposed because of biological differences to not be successful at tech companies.
  • Algorithms and technology are unbiased: That in order to build good products that address a global problem social signals and identities need to be stripped, ignored or completely dismissed in order to find a technological solution.
  • Who is “US”? Tim O’Reilly, the Tech-Media Mogul who popularized Open Source and Web 2.0 and built major tech conferences around these ideas, has a new book out called “What’s the Future” and states it is up to “us”. But who is the “us” he is talking about? Who is in that group? The demographics of his conferences make it clear who “us” is and it is not female and it isn’t of color and it isn’t LGBTQ+.