Douglas Rushkoff: “Tech billionaires are preparing for a disaster of their own making”

Douglas Rushkoff is one of the internet’s greatest experts. Father of the concept of virality and one of the most influential thinkers The impact of technology on our lives In 2017, he was invited by five millionaires (who are forbidden to reveal their names) to a super-luxury retreat in the middle of the desert to chat about the “future of technology.”

When you get there you find out that these very powerful men literally only worry about, How to save your skin from doomsdayWhat they call an “event”. Environmental collapse, nuclear explosion, an unstoppable viruscomputer sabotage, biological warfare… “Billionaires have been preparing to escape from the rest of humanity for years, from the angry mob, from us”To explain.

This is the subject of the article ‘Survival of the richest’ (Captain Swing, in bookstores September 18) Rushkoff’s detailing of the escapist fantasies of tech billionaires and their dreams selfish mentality. Jeff Bezos wanting to migrate to space, Elon Musk wanting to establish a colony on Mars, Peter Thiel (founder of PayPal) wishing for immortality in his New Zealand bunker, or ChatGPT creator Sam Altman offering this. It’s not a coincidence. Upload your mind to a supercomputer. “For them, the future of technology is about one thing: escaping the rest of us.” explains Rushkoff.

Why did you write the book?

When I met these tech billionaires, I realized that they actually had no intention of making the world a better place to live. They are only interested in building things for their personal survival. The promise of technology to create a better world for everyone is completely false. They are preparing for a disaster of their own making.

Do you really think you can escape the apocalypse?

They’re not as smart as they look. They don’t read much, most drop out of college after first year, very immature like Mark Zuckerberg. They are very powerful people whose cultural education is limited to watching a handful of zombie movies.

Mark Zuckerberg sees himself as Caesar Augustus. He is obsessed with her. have the same haircut

What do they have in common?

We’re all a little weird deep down. But the problem with Elon Musk, for example, is that his quirkiness, his autism or Asperger’s, can become so extreme, almost sociopathic, if it’s not balanced with something else. Some human emotions are exacerbated by digital technology and can lead to a holistic view of the world. I’m sure Musk is a fun and well-intentioned person, but he can’t help but look at people from a sociopathic distance, as if they were parts of a machine.


The digital loves capitalism, and capitalism loves the digital because both can grow exponentially forever. Capitalism says the human project is about profit, about numbers. For this reason, a non-spiritual, scientific understanding of the world prevails, where everything can be labeled. The digital is dominating, expanding and consuming, so it loves masculinity, at least the toxic traditional Western one. That’s why the digital environment rewards all these atheist, materialist, expansionist and colonialist leaders.

Digital technology is really good at creating false solutions to problems

In the book, he explains that shelters are no longer a dream.

It seems crazy, but it’s a fact. And they’re not just available in Hawaii or New Zealand. There is a Swiss company called Oppidum and they build them all over Europe, especially in Croatia. These are luxury apartments underground. They sell these as earthquake and nuclear disaster resistant.

You’ve been writing about the internet since you were born, when did it all go wrong?

Around 1994. At first the network was non-profit, it was a pure space to help people connect with each other. Those of us there at the beginning were young Californians who enjoyed psychedelia and believed in utopia. We were making shows during the day and going crazy at night. Until ‘Wired’ magazine said in 1993 that the network was a great business opportunity and everything went to hell.

At that time the state was the enemy.

We failed to see that if you get rid of the government, you create a lawless space where corporations can do whatever they want. We failed to see that deregulation isn’t just about letting hackers run wild, it’s also about letting big corporations run wild, too. I don’t think Biden will succeed in regulating big tech.

Magic is more likely to save us from apocalypse than a techno-solutionist future

What has the internet become?

Digital technology is really good at creating false solutions to problems. This is also true when it comes to isolating ourselves and distancing ourselves from the repercussions of our actions. When you buy a Tesla, you don’t see the pollution from the production of its battery or the children in the cobalt mines. Amazon even has the option to prevent human contact with the delivery driver.

All of this reminds us a little of the hippies who eventually turned into yuppies.

Yes, capitalism has always been great at absorbing its own critique. You can go to Burning Man, drink ayahuasca, wear sustainable clothing, preach about women’s rights, and still be a destructive asshole. When I was young, I thought that anyone who took mushrooms would see what I saw and become a good person, but most fools remain fools after taking acid. Hitler also loved psychedelics. And nature!

What will save us?

Books, comedy, movies, rituals, dance, love, yoga, tantra and all these things that make people laugh. I hate to say it, but right now magic is more likely to save us from apocalypse than the techno-solutionist future. Rationalism, scientism and solutionism have reached their limits. I don’t think Monsanto will solve the food crisis by growing fake alfalfa in the ocean. It’s time to save the lost sciences.

What do you think about the fight between Musk and Zuckerberg?

They see themselves as gods. It’s as if Zeus and Athena decided to fight and we little humans were watching from below. Or like Batman and Superman are fighting. Mark Zuckerberg sees himself as Caesar Augustus. He is obsessed with her. He wears the same haircut and attends his meetings with the slogan ‘Domination!’ It starts with a battle cry. We should be grateful that his model was not Caligula but a benevolent dictator like Augustus. And Elon Musk considers himself a demigod. Both interpret pop fantasies as heroes of humanity.

Source: Informacion


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