Reader’s Corner: ‘Survival of the Richest’

In the first chapter of Douglas Rushkoff’s new book, Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires, he describes a strange event he was invited to in 2017 where five wealthy men asked him about the impending apocalypse. They were not curious about how to stop it but how to escape it:

Taking their cue from Tesla founder Elon Musk colonizing Mars, Palantir’s Peter Thiel reversing the aging process, or artificial intelligence developers Sam Altman and Ray Kurzweil uploading their minds into supercomputers, they were preparing for a digital future that had less to do with making the world a better place than it did with transcending the human condition altogether. Their extreme wealth and privilege served only to make them obsessed with insulating themselves from the very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic, and resource depletion. For them, the future of technology is about only one thing: escape from the rest of us

Survival of the Richest comes out next week. My review is at PopMatters.

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