Silicon States shines a light into big tech’s future plans
If you have even the faintest interest in how the biggest tech issues might play out over the next five years, ‘Silicon States: The Power and Politics of Big Tech and What It Means for Our Future’, published by Counterpoint Press, is well worth your time.
Its author, the futurist Lucie Greene, skilfully negotiates some of the big issues (present and future) that the tech industry has saddled us with.
Greene gives a glimpse of a dystopian near-future while avoiding much of the over-egged hysteria that sometimes compromises work in this genre.
Voting via block-chain or emergency services on demand (with ‘surge pricing’ models built in) may be on the way, she says, as Silicon Valley ramps up its designs on cities and towns.
Greene also takes a look at the political manoeuvres of big tech companies and their founders, from how Uber and AirBnB riles up local communities to the once-likely presidential ambitions of Mark Zuckerberg.
While Greene keeps it all accessible and authoritative, she still finds time for a few wry takedowns.
“Doubtless the founders would hate to think of themselves as anything but champions of freedom, complete with Maroon 5 soundtracks,” she remarks on the hosts of an Airbnb annual conference. “And with noble ambitions to boot. They are champions of empathy, after all, even as they are stepping past the large homeless population of downtown Los Angeles.”
It’s refreshing that some of the most incisive futurists at present are women like Amy Webb and Lucie Greene.