Musk and the Tech Bros: Unleashing Hubris with an Unapologetic Coup Mentality

"Disgraced Crypto-God Sam Bankman-Fried's Spectacular Fall from Grace: From Icarus to Supervillain"

Even their downfalls are spectacular. Sam Bankman-Fried, a disgraced figure in the world of cryptocurrency, has crashed and burned, transforming his story into that of a supervillain. His potential sentence of up to 115 years in prison seems more fitting for a larger-than-life comic book character than a nerdy, crooked currency trader. This is just one example of the way this generation of tech billionaires operates.

The likes of Elon Musk, as portrayed in Walter Isaacson’s biography, have a fascination with superheroes and comic book characters. Musk even posted selfies of himself as Doctor Strange, a Marvel character who protects the Earth against magical threats. Musk’s interest in these characters goes so far that he gave a tour of the SpaceX factory to Robert Downey Jr, who plays Iron Man, and the film’s director, Jon Favreau. Musk’s challenge to Mark Zuckerberg for a “cage match” after the launch of Zuck’s Twitter competitor app further highlights the superhero-like persona these billionaires adopt.

Today’s tech titans are different from their predecessors, as evident from the recent surge in books about them. They are not content with building the biggest house in town; they aspire to build colonies on the moon, underground lairs in New Zealand, or even virtual reality servers in the cloud. They view civics and civilians as obstacles to their progress, and see themselves as the pioneers of a new dimension.

Peter Thiel, for instance, wanted to build a floating startup community on the ocean, where residents can live beyond government regulation. Jeff Bezos envisions space colonies that house trillions of people on the moon and asteroids, harvesting resources from space. Elon Musk believes he will establish a city of a million people on Mars by 2050. Sam Altman, the mastermind behind ChatGPT, even wants to upload his consciousness to the cloud.

While today’s tech billionaires may not be individually wealthier than their early 20th-century counterparts, the number of centimillionaires and billionaires has increased significantly, and they collectively hold a larger portion of the world’s wealth. The rate of wealth accumulation is no longer limited by the material world but can be replicated exponentially through virtual commodities such as likes, views, crypto, and derivatives.

However, the operations of these billionaires in the real world often result in externalized harm. Digital businesses rely on mineral slavery in Africa, contribute to toxic waste dumping in China, facilitate the undermining of democracy, and spread disinformation for profit. All of this is done from a sociopathic distance, with little regard for the people and places affected.

There is an imperiousness to the way this new billionaire class disregards the well-being of others, which is difficult to find historical precedent for. Mark Zuckerberg, for example, idolizes Augustus Caesar and aspires to absolute power. He has established an independent oversight board at Facebook, known as the “Supreme Court,” and envisions expanding its scope to include companies across the industry.

Elon Musk, on the other hand, exercises no restraint in his actions. He has faced accusations of disregard for the US government and has made controversial statements on social media. These tech billionaires operate with a sense of power and influence that surpasses that of their predecessors, and their actions have far-reaching consequences.

In conclusion, today’s tech billionaires are not just wealthy individuals; they embody a new breed of entrepreneurs who strive for dominance in multiple dimensions. Their ambitions go beyond material possessions and extend into the realms of space, virtual reality, and even immortality. However, their actions often come at the expense of others, and their disregard for the well-being of society raises important ethical questions. As they continue to shape the future, it is crucial to critically examine the impact of their power and influence on the world.

Martin Reid

Martin Reid

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