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The fast eat the slow, the rich eat the fast. Or, the moral economy of Thomas Friedman’s digital illiteracy

I thought this was an interesting extract from Imperial Messenger concerning Thomas Friedman’s advocacy of a digital imperative (‘get-wired-or-die’) which he himself is insulated from. As Belén Fernández writes on loc 668: Quoted in Foreign Policy as saying “I talk the talk of technology, but I don’t walk the walk,” Friedman elsewhere […]

The paradox of the liberal contrarian

From Emily Chang’s Brotopia pg 52: The beliefs of the PayPal founders—that individual merit is the most valuable metric of human potential and that creativity is deadened by groupthink—have deeply influenced the postcrash tech industry and are consistent with the ideas promoted by Thiel’s cohort at Stanford. There are many […]

The scholarly career of BuzzFeed founder Jonah Peretti

Viral marketing for the real world Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Contemporary Visual Culture and the Acceleration of Identity Formation/Dissolution Applied sociology in virtual worlds Nativism and nature: rethinking biological invasion Historical role-playing in virtual worlds: VRML in the history curriculum and beyond Teacher’s LAB : a platform for teacher learning The […]

A few notes the digital aristocracy

Many of the leading figures in contemporary Silicon Valley are those who survived the fall out from the earlier crash. Thiel made his fortune by co-founding the online payments platform Paypal, acting as CEO until its sale to eBay. He subsequently founded Clarium Capital (a hedge fund), Founders Fund (a […]

Silicon startup schools

My notes on Williamson, B. (2018). Silicon startup schools: technocracy, algorithmic imaginaries and venture philanthropy in corporate education reform. Critical studies in education, 59(2), 218-236. The technology sector has turned its gaze towards education in recent years, manifesting in a whole range of initiatives as well as the increasing prominence […]

Technology and the billionaire class

As Anand Giridharadas points out on pg 86 of his Winners Take All, the eight billionaires who can account for half the world’s wealth all owe their income to technology, albeit to varying degrees: Six of those eight made their money in the supposedly equalizing field of technology: Gates, Zuckerberg, […]

The Great Disruptive Project

On the same topic as yesterday’s post on the moral theories of platform engineers, Anand Giridharadas recounts a speech by Uber and Airbnb investor Shervin Pishevar on pg 66 of his Winners Take All:  “My biggest thing is existing structures and monopolies—one example is the taxi cartels—that is a very real thing,” he […]

The awkward silences of digital elites

The fascination with the propensity of tech founders to go silent reminds me of how the earliest philosophers were framed as unworldly due to their capacity to go into thought trances. From Roger McNamee’s Zucked, loc 269-284. This little speech took about two minutes to deliver. What followed was the longest […]