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Stop Using AI To Steal: At Sam Altman’s $45 Million SF Mansion Stop Technofascism

Stop Techno Fascism & The Theft Of Labor & Resources
Date:
Monday, July 15, 2024
Time:
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Event Type:
Protest
Organizer/Author:
UFCLP.org
Location Details:
Billionaire Sam Altman's $45 Million Pacific Heights Mansion
950 Lombard St, San Francisco

Altman Stop Using AI To Steal: Speak Out At Sam Altman’s $45 Million SF Mansion
Stop TechnoFascism, Slave Labor & Theft Of Our Thoughts & Labor
Billions For Heathcare, Education & Housing Not The Billionaire Bloodsuckers

Altman’s $45 Million Dollar Mansion
950 Lombard St, San Francisco

Monday June 15th, 2024 12:00 Noon


The capitalist mania over the development of artifical intellegence and robotics is a threat to the future of all working people and the world.Altman has personally stolen the voices of actors like Scarlett Johansson.
https://thehill.com/video/scarlett-johansson-accuses-openais-sam-altman-of-stealing-her-voice/9714588/
AI is being developed by the massive theft of all data, pictures, voices and videos on the internet. This wild wild west theft of voices from artists like Scarlett Johansson by Sam Altman and his company Chat GPT is being driven for profiteering.
They are also using this for genocide against the Palestinians and the war machine which receives trillions of dollars from both the Democrats and Republicans.
Sam Altman, Elon Musk, Peter Theil, Larry Ellison and other tech billionaires and capitalist speculators have total control of the development of this technology regardless of the cost to working people and the public. This is a deadly threat to our future.
AI whistleblowers from Chat GP have also been retaliated against for speaking out about the dangers of this unbridled development and there must be an international movement to control this development so it does not threaten the future of the world.
AI and algorythims are now used to discriminate against women, blacks and brown people and the control of tech and media threaten by these techno fascists are driving toward a fascist dictatorship to benefit them and their ideological and political agenda with complete deregulation and no accountability.
The introduction of autonomous vehicles has threatend milliions of workers and Goldman Sachs has said 350 million workers around the world will have their jobs eliminated with the introduction of this Tech. It is being developed to eliminate labor and replace workers with AI robots. This is an existential issue for nurses, teachers, transportation workers, logistics workers, journalists, actors, writers and public workers.
Altman and his cronies have no plan for the future of the hundreds of millions of workers who will be displaced because they are driven by profiting from the use of AI and Robotics.
Their dystopian view of their world is one of unlimited wealth and control for themselves and slave labor for the mass of workers and people and they need fascism to accomplish this agenda.
We demand that this technology benefit working people and the public and it will not take place under these billionaire oligarchs and crooks
Speakers will address this issue and how working people can confront this new challenge to our future.

Sponsored by
United Front Committee For A Labor Party
http://www.ufclp.org
Alliance For Independent Workers, Founder, AiW
LaborNet
Labortech.net

Techno Crypto Fascists Unite

‘It’s Not 2016 Anymore’: Trump Finds Friends in Silicon Valley

https://www.nytimes.com/2024/06/06/us/politics/trump-sacks-silicon-valley-donors.html


Donald Trump is heading to San Francisco for a fund-raiser, and his host, the tech entrepreneur David Sacks, hopes to portray Silicon Valley as a more MAGA-welcoming place.
David Sacks, an entrepreneur and investor, will host a fund-raiser at his home in San Francisco for former President Donald J. Trump on Thursday.Credit...Peter DaSilva for The New York Times
Theodore Schleifer.png
By Theodore Schleifer
June 6, 2024, 5:04 a.m. ET

One March night in the nation’s capital, Senator J.D. Vance, Republican of Ohio, left a conservative gala to join a group having dinner with Donald Trump Jr.
As the meal wrapped, Mr. Vance decided, on a whim, to invite a friend, whom he had just introduced at the gala dinner, to meet the former president’s son. Soon, the three Republicans — Mr. Vance, Mr. Trump Jr. and Mr. Vance’s friend, David Sacks, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur — were getting to know one another for a half-hour or so in a private dining room of the Conrad Hotel.
It was there, at that impromptu post-dinner hang hours after Mr. Trump became the presumptive Republican nominee, that Mr. Sacks signaled that he was all-in for Trump 2024.
On Thursday evening, this time on his own California turf, it will be Mr. Sacks’s turn to host Team Trump. The former president himself is flying to San Francisco to attend a fund-raiser at Mr. Sacks’s $20 million home on the toniest street in the city’s tony Pacific Heights neighborhood. The private event, the first campaign fund-raiser since Mr. Trump’s criminal conviction last week, is expected to raise north of $12 million, according to people involved in the gathering.
Beyond the money, the fund-raiser in the beating heart of the liberal tech industry is also shaping up to be a landmark event, at least symbolically.
Four years ago, and certainly eight years ago, the Bay Area remained a haven for liberalism and offered little support for Mr. Trump. But that Obama-era bonhomie between Silicon Valley and the Democratic Party has come close to disintegrating. These days, entrepreneurs complain as much about President Biden as they do about Lina Khan, the chair of the Federal Trade Commission, who has ascended to Darth Vader-like status in some corners of the technology industry.
To be sure, most of the tech industry’s elite maintain their liberal leanings on everything from immigration to climate change. Mr. Biden made his own trip to Silicon Valley last month, where he raised millions of dollars and was feted by internet icons, including Vinod Khosla, the venture capitalist, and Marissa Mayer, the former Yahoo chief executive. But times have changed, and Republicans on a national level see an opportunity to make incursions with wealthy entrepreneurs who have drifted rightward following the Covid pandemic and the resistance to the social-justice movements of 2020.
“It’s safe to say that there’s a wellspring of support in Silicon Valley,” Mr. Sacks wrote in a text to The New York Times, “especially given the backlash to the political prosecution of Trump.”
Mr. Sacks has expressed a desire to friends to make the San Francisco event something of a statement. He hopes to portray Silicon Valley as a changed place — and San Francisco as no longer the liberal mecca of the Grateful Dead and Allen Ginsberg.



Over the last few years, Mr. Sacks, a longtime associate of Elon Musk and Peter Thiel, has transformed from a prominent Silicon Valley executive into an unlikely media celebrity for would-be entrepreneurs, especially those leaning right, who listen to his popular “All-In” podcast. He has also substantially increased his political involvement, hiring aides to steer his giving, setting up his own super PACs and, as of late, building relationships at Mr. Trump’s Florida home base, Mar-a-Lago, links to which he lacked just a few months ago.
“There’s a ton more latitude that people feel like they have now,” said Saurabh Sharma, the head of a conservative advocacy group called American Moment, which hosted the gala featuring Mr. Sacks and Mr. Vance. “It’s not 2016 anymore.”

THE TRIP TO SAN FRANCISCO IS MR. TRUMP’S FIRST VISIT TO THE FAMOUSLY LEFT-WING CITY IN AT LEAST A DECADE. THE FORMER PRESIDENT HAS CALLED SAN FRANCISCO “HORRIBLE,” “FILTHY” AND “DRUG-INFESTED,” AND HE HAS OFTEN INVOKED ITS HOMEGROWN POLITICAL FIGURES, SUCH AS GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM AND FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI, AS EXEMPLARS OF WHAT HE SEES AS LIBERAL EXCESSES.

Some attendees of Mr. Sacks’s event are flying in from out of town. As of Tuesday, the event at his home — nicknamed the Broadcliff by him and his wife, Jacqueline — had sold out of its two ticket levels, $50,000 per person and $300,000 per person. Several people who belatedly expressed interest in going learned they would be unable to do so. Later, over the weekend, Trump will be hosted in Orange County in Southern California by another tech entrepreneur, Palmer Luckey, a former Facebook executive who went on to co-found the virtual reality company Oculus and the defense tech company Anduril.
People involved in the San Francisco fund-raiser said that the roughly $12 million they expect to raise will beat their initial goal of about $5 million. About 25 people are expected to attend the dinner, and about another 50 or so are slated to attend a bigger reception.
A few of the more famous Silicon Valley Republicans are skipping the event. Mr. Thiel, who has been in Europe this week for the annual meeting of the Bilderberg Group, is not expected to attend, according to two people familiar with his plans. Neither is the venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, a person familiar with his plans said. Keith Rabois, a prominent G.O.P. donor and an early PayPal executive alongside Mr. Sacks and Mr. Thiel, won’t be there — but his husband, Jacob Helberg, will be, along with his guest, Senator Bill Hagerty, Republican of Tennessee.
The fund-raiser is expected to draw heavily from leaders in the crypto industry. Ryan Selkis, a politically active crypto entrepreneur, has told people he plans to attend. The industry has taken a recent beating from Mr. Biden, whose veto last week of a crypto-friendly bill drove a few attendees to the Trump gathering, according to a person involved in the event.
“As opposed to an event in Palm Beach, where it’s more likely a bunch of wealthy people who want to go to France or England, this event is a little bit more about the business community saying, ‘Enough,’” said Trevor Traina, a former ambassador to Austria under Mr. Trump. A friend of Mr. Sacks, Mr. Traina plans to attend the event.
Senator J.D. Vance, Republican of Ohio, who worked as a venture capitalist at one of Peter Thiel’s firms, introduced Mr. Sacks to Donald Trump Jr., and will be in attendance at the fund-raiser himself.Credit...Maddie McGarvey for The New York TimesImageSenator J.D. Vance stands and applauds at an outdoor rally, as a crowd behind him sits and claps.
Mr. Sacks has had two primary sources of help. The first has been Chamath Palihapitiya, an early executive at AOL and Facebook, who is now one of Mr. Sacks’s so-called “besties” on their joint podcast and a former large donor to Democrats. The other is Mr. Vance, the Ohio senator who lived briefly in San Francisco and worked as a venture capitalist at one of Mr. Thiel’s firms. Mr. Vance, who will be in town for the event, co-founded a donor network popular with some Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, called the Rockbridge Network, and he has been deeply involved in urging his friends in the industry to turn out for the gathering.
Among those friends was Mr. Sacks himself, whom Mr. Vance has called “one of his closest confidants” in politics. Mr. Sacks helped launch Gov. Ron DeSantis’s failed presidential bid alongside Mr. Musk on X in early 2023 and was slow to embrace Mr. Trump. Mr. Sacks said in the aftermath of Jan. 6, 2021, that the riot at the Capitol had disqualified Mr. Trump from serving in elected office, but Mr. Vance then spent upward of a year trying to change Mr. Sacks’s mind.
Mr. Sacks has expressed to friends that he no longer thinks that being a Trump supporter in Silicon Valley is so provocative.
During Mr. Trump’s last trip to Silicon Valley for fund-raising in the fall of 2019, organizers worked hard to disguise the host of the event, out of fear of a backlash, not informing guests of the precise location until very close to the day of the fund-raiser. Nowadays, Trump supporters in tech take pride — a sign in itself. Ron Conway, a leader of liberal tech executives for decades, has grown alarmed by the trend and encouraged a few friends to skip the event, according to a person familiar with his thinking. Other Democratic veterans in tech have even questioned the hosts privately and effectively asked them if they had lost their minds.
Shawn Steel, a Republican National Committeeman from California who has worked in politics for decades, called the pro-Trump cohort of Republican givers “true, new gladiators.”
“I gave up on Silicon Valley years ago,” Mr. Steel said. “There’s been a transformation — real money is coming.”
Mr. Sacks had expressed an interest in turning the event into a content-creation opportunity, perhaps by pulling out microphones for a live taping of Mr. Sacks’s and Mr. Palihapitiya’s podcast. That plan has since been scuttled. Still, the paper invitation to donors was sure to attach a rather specific honorific atop the names of these two professional venture capitalists: “All-In Co-Hosts.”


A Devil’s Bargain With OpenAI

Publishers including The Atlantic are signing deals with the AI giant. Where does this lead?
https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2024/05/a-devils-bargain-with-openai/678537/


By Damon Beres
Illustration by The AtlanticA blend of The Atlantic's and OpenAI's logos
MAY 29, 2024

A blend of The Atlantic's and OpenAI's logosListen to this article

Produced by ElevenLabs and News Over Audio (NOA) using AI narration.
This article was featured in the One Story to Read Today newsletter. Sign up for it here.
Earlier today, The Atlantic’s CEO, Nicholas Thompson, announced in an internal email that the company has entered into a business partnership with OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT. (The news was made public via a press release shortly thereafter.) Editorial content from this publication will soon be directly referenced in response to queries in OpenAI products. In practice, this means that users of ChatGPT, say, might type in a question and receive an answer that briefly quotes an Atlantic story; according to Anna Bross, The Atlantic’s senior vice president of communications, it will be accompanied by a citation and a link to the original source. Other companies, such as Axel Springer, the publisher of Business Insider and Politico, have made similar arrangements.
It does all feel a bit like publishers are making a deal with—well, can I say it? The red guy with a pointy tail and two horns? Generative AI has not exactly felt like a friend to the news industry, given that it is trained on loads of material without permission from those who made it in the first place. It also enables the distribution of convincing fake media, not to mention AI-generated child-sexual-abuse material. The rapacious growth of the technology has also dovetailed with a profoundly bleak time for journalism, as several thousand people have lost their jobs in this industry over just the past year and a half. Meanwhile, OpenAI itself has behaved in an erratic, ethically questionable manner, seemingly casting caution aside in search of scale. To put it charitably, it’s an unlikely hero swooping in with bags of money. (Others see it as an outright villain: A number of newspapers, including The New York Times, have sued the company over alleged copyright infringement. Or, as Jessica Lessin, the CEO of The Information, put it in a recent essay for this magazine, publishers “should protect the value of their work, and their archives. They should have the integrity to say no.”)
Read: ChatGPT is turning the internet into plumbing
This has an inescapable sense of déjà vu. For media companies, the defining question of the digital era has simply been How do we reach people? There is much more competition than ever before—anyone with an internet connection can self-publish and distribute writing, photography, and videos, drastically reducing the power of gatekeepers. Publishers need to fight for their audiences tooth and nail. The clearest path forward has tended to be aggressively pursuing strategies based on the scope and power of tech platforms that have actively decided not to bother with the messy and expensive work of determining whether something is true before enabling its publication on a global scale. This dynamic has changed the nature of media—and in many cases degraded it. Certain types of headlines turned out to be more provocative to audiences on social media, thus “clickbait.” Google has filtered material according to many different factors over the years, resulting in spammy “search-engine optimized” content that strives to climb to the top of the results page.
At times, tech companies have put their thumb directly on the scale. You might remember when, in 2016, BuzzFeed used Facebook’s livestreaming platform to show staffers wrapping rubber bands around a watermelon until it exploded; BuzzFeed, like other publishers, was being paid by the social-media company to use this new video service. That same year, BuzzFeed was valuedat $1.7 billion. Facebook eventually tired of these news partnerships and ended them. Today, BuzzFeed trades publicly and is worth about 6 percent of that 2016 valuation. Facebook, now Meta, has a market cap of about $1.2 trillion.
“The problem with Facebook Live is publishers that became wholly dependent on it and bet their businesses on it,” Thompson told me when I reached out to ask about this. “What are we going to do editorially that is different because we have a partnership with OpenAI? Nothing. We are going to publish the same stories, do the same things—we will just ideally, I hope, have more people read them.” (The Atlantic’s editorial team does not report to Thompson, and corporate partnerships have no influence on stories, including this one.) OpenAI did not respond to questions about the partnership.
Read: It’s the end of the web as we know it
The promise of working alongside AI companies is easy to grasp. Publishers will get some money—Thompson would not disclose the financial elements of the partnership—and perhaps even contribute to AI models that are higher-quality or more accurate. Moreover, The Atlantic’s Product team will develop its own AI tools using OpenAI’s technology through a new experimental website called Atlantic Labs. Visitors will have to opt in to using any applications developed there. (Vox is doing something similar through a separate partnership with the company.)
But it’s just as easy to see the potential problems. So far, generative AI has not resulted in a healthier internet. Arguably quite the opposite. Consider that in recent days, Google has aggressively pushed an “AI Overview” tool in its Search product, presenting answers written by generative AI atop the usual list of links. The bot has suggested that users eat rocks or put glue in their pizza sauce when prompted in certain ways. ChatGPT and other OpenAI products may perform better than Google’s, but relying on them is still a gamble. Generative-AI programs are known to “hallucinate.” They operate according to directions in black-box algorithms. And they work by making inferences based on huge data sets containing a mix of high-quality material and utter junk. Imagine a situation in which a chatbot falsely attributes made-up ideas to journalists. Will readers make the effort to check? Who could be harmed? For that matter, as generative AI advances, it may destroy the internet as we know it; there are already signs that this is happening. What does it mean for a journalism company to be complicit in that act?
Read: OpenAI just gave away the entire game
Given these problems, several publishers are making the bet that the best path forward is to forge a relationship with OpenAI and ostensibly work toward being part of a solution. “The partnership gives us a direct line and escalation process to OpenAI to communicate and address issues around hallucinations or inaccuracies,” Bross told me. “Additionally, having the link from ChatGPT (or similar products) to our site would let a reader navigate to source material to read the full article.” Asked about whether this arrangement might interfere with the magazine’s subscription model—by giving ChatGPT users access to information in articles that are otherwise paywalled, for example—Bross said, “This is not a syndication license. OpenAI does not have permission to reproduce The Atlantic’s articles or create substantially similar reproductions of whole articles or lengthy excerpts in ChatGPT (or similar products). Put differently, OpenAI’s display of our content cannot exceed their fair-use rights.”
I am no soothsayer. It is easy to pontificate and catastrophize. Generative AI could turn out to be fine—even helpful or interesting—in the long run. Advances such as retrieval-augmented generation—a technique that allows AI to adjust its responses based on specific outside sources—might relieve some of the most immediate concerns about accuracy. (You would be forgiven for not recently using Microsoft’s Bing chatbot, which runs on OpenAI technology, but it’s become pretty good at summarizing and citing its sources.) Still, the large language models powering these products are, as the Financial Times wrote, “not search engines looking up facts; they are pattern-spotting engines that guess the next best option in a sequence.” Clear reasons exist not to trust their outputs. For this reason alone, the apparent path forward offered by this technology may well be a dead end.
Damon Beres is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Technology section.

Sam Altman, Techo Fascism & The Fascist Movement

The Despots of Silicon Valley

https://www.theatlantic.com/podcasts/archive/2024/02/despots-silicon-valley/677386/


The intellectual origins of the movement that self-described “techno-optimists” are advancing is dark—and deeply familiar.
By Hanna Rosin
Illustration by Ben Kothe. Source: Gerard Julien / AFP / Getty.Next to the Radio Atlantic logo, Mark Zuckerberg wearing a crown of mouse pointers
On the day that Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion, he tweeted, “the bird is freed,” a very short phrase, even by the standards of Twitter (now X). And yet it contains so many innuendos and unanswered questions. Was the bird shackled before? Is the man who freed it … a liberator? Freed to do what exactly?
Musk has always talked a big game on free speech and even described himself as a “free speech absolutist.” But his ownership and management of X has revealed the deep inconsistencies between his professed values and his actions. And it isn’t just Musk. Throughout the world of tech, evidence of illiberalism is on the rise.
In this week’s episode of Radio Atlantic, Adrienne LaFrance, the executive editor of The Atlantic, names and explains the political ideology of the unelected leaders of Silicon Valley. They are leading a movement she calls “techno-authoritarianism.”
Listen to the conversation here:
Subscribe here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | YouTube | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts
The following is a transcript of the episode:
[Music]
News Archival: This is the big surprise in Silicon Valley today. Sam Altman, the face of the generative-AI boom and CEO of OpenAI, he’s out of the company.
Adrienne LaFrance: You probably remember seeing headlines right before Thanksgiving about a bunch of drama at OpenAI.
News Archival: That roller-coaster ride at OpenAI is over. At least we think it’s over. Ousted CEO Sam Altman has been rehired, and the board that pushed him out is gone.
LaFrance: I mean, it was probably the most dramatic story in tech, possibly of this century. I mean, really dramatic.
[Music]
Hanna Rosin: That’s Adrienne LaFrance, the executive editor of The Atlantic, and she’s been following tech for decades. So you would expect that she would find this Silicon Valley office gossip dramatic.
But the surprising thing is, a lot of people did—which is probably because underneath that “will they or won’t they rehire Sam Altman?” question, there was a more fundamental debate going on.

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[Music]
LaFrance: On one side, you have people arguing for a more cautious approach to development of artificial intelligence. And on the other, you have an argument or a sort of worldview that says, This technology is here. It’s happening. It’s changing the world already. Not only should we not slow down, but it would be irresponsible to slow down.
So it’s this just dramatically different worldview of, you know, almost polar opposites—of if you slow down, you’re hurting humanity, versus if you don’t slow down, you’re hurting humanity.
Rosin: So the most oversimplification is like scale and profit versus caution.
LaFrance: Exactly. But the people who are on the scale-and-profit side would like you to believe that they are also operating in humanity’s best interest.
[Music]
Rosin: This is Radio Atlantic. I’m Hanna Rosin. The drama at OpenAI was a rare moment where an ideological divide in Silicon Valley was so central, and explicit.
We’re not going to talk about the Sam Altman saga today. But we are going to talk about these underlying beliefs, because in an industry defined by inventions, and IPOs, and tech bro jokes, it’s easy to miss what a fundamental driver ideology can be.
In a recent story for The Atlantic, Adrienne argued that we should examine these views more carefully and take them much more seriously than we do. And she put a name to the ideology: techno-authoritarianism.
[Music]
Rosin: So, we are used to thinking of some tech titans as villains, but you’re kind of defining them as villains with political significance. What do you mean when you call them the despots of Silicon Valley?
LaFrance: So I’ve been thinking about this for years, honestly, and something that had been frustrating me is I feel that we, as a society, haven’t properly placed Silicon Valley where it needs to be, in terms of its actual importance and influence.
So we all know it influences our lives. And, you know, I would love to talk about screens and social media and all the rest, but Silicon Valley has also had this profound influence politically and culturally that is much bigger than just the devices we’re holding in our pockets.
Rosin: Mm-hmm.
LaFrance: It has bothered me because I feel like we haven’t properly called that what it is, which is an actual ideology that comes out of Silicon Valley that is political in nature, even if it’s not a political party.
It’s this worldview that is illiberal. It goes against democratic values, meaning not the Democratic Party but values that promote democracy and the health of democracy. And it presupposes that the technocratic elite knows best and not the people.
Rosin: I mean, authoritarian is a very strong word. We’re used to using “authoritarian” in a different context, which is our political context.
LaFrance: Definitely. I mean, I guess the nuance I would want to add is that this is not political in the traditional sense. It’s not as though you have authoritarian technocrats trying to come to power in Silicon Valley by way of elections or coups, even. They’re not even bothering with our systems of government, because they already have positioned themselves as more important and influential, culturally. And so it’s almost like they don’t need to bother with government for their power.
Rosin: I see. So it’s a form of power we don’t even recognize, because we don’t exactly have structures to put it in or understand it.
LaFrance: Well, we may not recognize it as readily because of that, but I think if you look not even that closely, it’s pretty plain to see.
If you just pay attention to how people talk about what they think matters, who they think should make decisions, who they characterize as their enemies—institutions, experts, journalists, for example. You know, if it looks like an authoritarian and quacks like an authoritarian, then, you know: ta-da.
Rosin: Right. Right.
LaFrance: The reason I wanted to try to define what this ideology is, is I do feel as though over the past five to 10 years, something has shifted, gradually at first and then more quickly. The sort of subversion of Enlightenment-era language and values to justify an authoritarian technocratic worldview was alarming to me. And so, for example, you’ll see a lot of people in this category describing themselves as free-speech absolutists—I think a really easy example of this would be Elon Musk—and saying all the things that someone who believes in liberal democracy might agree with on its face, but then acting another way.
So, to say you’re a free-speech absolutist but then tailor your privately run social platform to serve your own needs and beliefs and pick on your perceived enemies—I mean, that’s not free-speech absolutism at all.
And so this sense of aggrievement has accelerated and become, you know, more vitriolic and more ostentatious. It just seems like it’s getting more pronounced.
Rosin: When did you start paying attention to tech titans? When did you start following the industry?
LaFrance: I first started really writing about tech for The Atlantic in 2013.
Rosin: Mm-hmm. What was the promise of tech back then? How were tech titans framing their own work or behaving differently than now?
LaFrance: Right. I mean, so 10 to 15 years ago, we were talking about the dawn of the social mobile age. So smartphones are still sort of new. (Social media is not totally new. You know, Facebook started in 2004. You could go back to, like, Friendster or Myspace before that.) Uber was new. It was very much an era of people still being wowed.
And frankly, I’m still wowed by this. Like, you pick up this smartphone—this new, shiny, beautiful device—and you press a button on the phone, and something can happen in the real world: You summon a taxi or, you know, food delivery. All of this stuff seems totally normal to us now, but it was this miraculous time where people were creating a way of interacting with the world that was totally new.
And so there was still, I think, certainly healthy skepticism, but you had a lot of the bright-eyed optimism that I think started, certainly, in the ’90s that still carried over.
Rosin: And was there a worldview attached to that awe? Like, I remember the phrase, “Don’t be evil,” but I can’t place it in time. Like, was there some idea of—
LaFrance: I can’t remember when Google retired that, but there certainly came a point where it became ridiculous to wear that optimism on your sleeve. There was this time where Silicon Valley was a place for underdogs, for people with big dreams and the ability to code, and they’d come and do amazing things.
I think we also have to remember—I don’t want to be too starry-eyed about it—even then, this was an era where you had, like, the bro-ish culture, and women working in a lot of these companies at the time report just terrible experiences.
And so there are flaws from the start, as with any industry or any culture. But I think 10 or 15 years ago is around the time things started to curdle a little bit.
I believe it was 2012 when Facebook eventually bought Instagram, with its $1 billion valuation, and it was this moment where people were like, No. Come on. Like, That’s an insane amount of money. Is it really worth that?
And you had a string of these sort of obscene amounts of money. And what you were witnessing—and I think people started to realize this then, too—was like the monopolization and these giants gobbling up their competitors. The forces set in motion that led us to the environment that we’re in today.
And we didn’t know it until a couple of years later, but 2012 was also the year that Facebook was doing its now-infamous mood-manipulation experiments, when it was showing users different things to see if they could try to make people happy or sad or angry, without their consent.
And by then, I think, the general public was starting to realize, you know, there may be some downsides to all these shiny things.
Rosin: Yeah. And then came 2016, when it felt like Facebook’s role in the election was something everybody noticed.
LaFrance: Right, and all kinds of questions about targeted ads for certain populations and election interference, foreign or otherwise. So, definitely, there was another wave of intense criticism for Facebook then. You know, serious questions about these companies wreaking havoc have been around for years.
Rosin: It’s been eight or 10 years. So, like, what feels different now?
LaFrance: The reason I wrote this now is we are, in America, certainly, and elsewhere in the world, facing a real fight for the future of democracy. And the stakes are high. And it seemed important to me, you know, at a time when everyone’s going to be focused on the 2024 presidential election, as they should be, and on the stakes there, there are other forces for illiberalism and autocracy that are permeating our society, and we should reckon with those too.
[Music]
Rosin: After the break, we talk about a voice that seems to capture techno-authoritarianism perfectly. And of course, we reckon.
[Music]
LaFrance: So if you look at the social conditions that help provoke political violence or stoke people’s appetite for a strong man in charge—or pick your destabilizing social, political, cultural force—a lot of those things go together and overlap.
And I think a lot of those same conditions are exacerbated by our relationship, individual and societal, with technology and then further exacerbated by the tech titans who want to defend against any criticism of the current environment.
Rosin: I see. So the tolerance for political autocracy and our tolerance for technological autocracy, they kind of meld together and produce the same results.
LaFrance: I think so. I mean, just think about, like, Orwell or Ray Bradbury. We know that—I mean, those were futuristic books in their times, thinking of 1984 and Fahrenheit 451—
Rosin: Politics and technology, the interaction between—that is the engine of sci-fi.
LaFrance: Yeah, or just look at how Hitler used the radio. Like, technology is not inherently evil. I love technology. I desperately love the internet. Like, I actually do.
But I think when you have extraordinarily powerful people putting their worldview in terms of, Progress is inevitable, and, Anyone who doesn’t want to just move forward for the sake of moving forward is on the side of evil, just the starkness of how they frame this is so uncomplicated.
There’s no nuance, and it’s in really authoritarian terms. Just, it should scare people.
Rosin: Okay. I think I want to get to the specifics of what this ideology actually is.
LaFrance: Okay. So a useful example is Marc Andreessen, the venture capitalist. You know, Andreessen Horowitz is his firm. He’s a very well-known, influential, but pugnacious guy.
And he has written what he calls “The Techno-Optimist Manifesto,” and it’s a very long blog post, but I think a revealing one and worth reading in the sense that it lays out some of what I’m describing here.
He lists, sort of, what a techno-optimist would believe, and I’m paraphrasing here, but: progress for progress’s sake, always moving forward, rejecting tradition, rejecting history, rejecting expertise, rejecting institutions. He has a list of enemies.
You look at the well that people are drawing from, and it gives you a sense of the sort of the intellectual rigidity, I would say, of just: What we’re doing is good because it’s what we’re doing, and we’re going to do it because we’re doing it.
There’s sort of this, like, circular logic to it. So anyway, that’s one example, “The Techno-Optimist Manifesto.”
Rosin: Let’s read some of the lines, just to typify his style of writing and thinking. I mean, the one that I always think about, is the one about the lightning.
LaFrance: It’s really dramatic. [Laughs.]
Rosin: I remember thinking, when I read that line, I’ve never possibly read anything as arrogant as this.
LaFrance: I know, well, but we shouldn’t laugh at it, because he’s serious. Do you know what I mean?
Rosin: Well, let’s get to that, but just so people understand the style—
LaFrance: Okay. [Demonstratively clears throat.] I’m really not going to laugh. Okay. He says, “We believe in nature, but we also believe in overcoming nature. We are not primitives, cowering in fear of the lightning bolt. We are the apex predator; the lightning works for us.”
Rosin: “The lightning works for us.” Wow. That’s something.
LaFrance: Look, I get, like, there’s a version of this that, harnessed properly, could inspire people to do spectacular things.
And, like, there’s something beautiful about great imagination in tech. That’s great. But yeah, saying, “The lightning works for us,” is a bit much.
Rosin: I actually have trouble understanding optimist versus pessimist.
LaFrance: Right. He’s so mad for an optimist.
Rosin: Yes. It’s a combination of, sort of, Ayn Rand speak and a kind of angry Twitter manifesto.
But it is dark and apocalyptic, and I did wonder about that. Like, why is it called “The Techno-Optimist” and yet it feels extremely reactionary? Like, it echoes a kind of reactionary language that you hear in some corners of the Republican Party and Trumpism. It’s a little bit like “Make America great again.” The way people talked about that is the most pessimistic political slogan that anyone’s ever won with.
LaFrance: Totally. I mean, I think you’re hitting the exact point, which is they take—I’ll speak just for Andreessen here. He is describing himself and this manifesto as optimistic, but in the same way that some technocrats take Enlightenment values and claim to support them while saying the exact opposite of what those values actually mean. And so I think it’s a subversion of meaning. It’s: We’re optimists. We’re the good guys.
And then you read it and you’re like, This is horrifying.
But this isn’t some Reddit forum in the corner that only six guys are reading and agreeing with each other. These are the most powerful people on the planet, and they’re hugely influential and people buy into it.
Rosin: Could you help me understand, what’s the ultimate goal of a techno-optimist? Is it social change? Is it an attitude shift? Is it money?
It’s very hard to understand. Is it just scaling a company? Or is it cultural, societal change? Like, what do you think they’re after?
LaFrance: Well, I wouldn’t call it a techno-optimist. I wouldn’t use that term.
promo image.pngBut the worldview that’s being expressed here, I think the goal, certainly, is to retain power and to maximize profit. And one of the stated goals from the manifesto is quote, “to ensure the techno-capital upward spiral continues forever.” So that’s clearly talking about continued enrichment for these powerful people, who are already very wealthy. But you know, they want to build new things and make a ton of money.
Rosin: Mm-hmm. That’s the weird thing. Like, it doesn’t sound like a business strategy.
LaFrance: [Laughs.]
Rosin: It sounds like a manifesto for social overhaul. And so it’s hard to understand what it is.
LaFrance: I will say, to be fair, I think this encapsulates also the people who are creating world-changing tech for good, which is happening.
I mean, if you look at even the realm of AI, we hope—we haven’t seen it yet, but I fully expect we will see AI that helps cure diseases. That’s remarkable. We should all wish for that outcome. And I hope that the people working on this are singularly focused on that kind of work.
And so I think if you were to ask someone like Marc Andreessen or Elon Musk or pick your favorite technocrat, they would say, We’re changing the world to make it better for humanity. We’re going to go to Mars. We’re going to cure disease.
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A
And people who have this worldview may, in fact, help do that, which is fantastic. But in order to get to Mars, what’s the trade-off if you’re talking about this worldview?
Rosin: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Among the leaders of major tech companies, how prevalent do you think this attitude is?
LaFrance: It’s a really good question. Honestly, there are so many tech companies, I don’t feel comfortable saying that it’s widespread across every one. Like, there’s so many tech companies, right?
Rosin: Mm-hmm.
LaFrance: But it is highly visible and vocal among many very influential leaders in tech. So if you were to look at every single tech company, it may not even be a majority. But among the most powerful people, it’s highly visible and prevalent.
Rosin: And how would you compare it with the attitudes of, say, the robber barons of earlier eras?
LaFrance: There is actually a great book called Railroaded by the Stanford historian Richard White that is mostly about robber barons, but the entire time I was reading it, I was thinking about Silicon Valley, because it’s a very natural comparison.
You have this sort of, you know, world-changing technology that is rapidly enriching this handful of powerful men—mostly men—and this question of, you know, Did railroads change America for good? Certainly. Of course, they did. But, there are questions of monopoly and how much power any one person should hold and all the questions that come up with Silicon Valley, too.


TECHNO-FASCISM’S LEVEL OF EFFICIENCY AND TOTALITARIAN POTENTIAL CAN EASILY LEAD TO REPRESSIVE SYSTEMS THAT WILL NOT TOLERATE DISSENT.

https://abolishtime.medium.com/the-roots-of-techno-fascism-49e6dd79b03b

Unlike the racist mythologies of German fascism, the mythic dimensions of techno-fascism are rooted in ancient religious narratives about humans naming and taking control of the environment, and in the abstract thinking of philosophers who laid the conceptual and moral foundations for the modern myth of progress, including the idea that human life is mechanistic in nature and is driven by nature’s law governing natural selection. While the moral foundations of techno-fascism align with the values of market capitalism and the progress-oriented ideology of science that easily slips into scientism, its level of efficiency and totalitarian potential can easily lead to repressive systems that will not tolerate dissent, especially on the part of those challenging how the colonizing nature of techno-fascism promotes consumerism that is destroying the environment and alternative cultural lifestyles such as the cultural commons.

The primary characteristic of all fascist modernizing movements is conformity of thinking and behavior, which is directed and controlled by total surveillance systems that track people’s thoughts, behaviors and relationships. The latest in the emerging techno-fascist arsenal of surveillance technologies is the new facial recognition system now being adopted by local police, which will shortly become part of the FBI’s $1 billion Next Generation Identification program. Photos of people not suspected of criminal activities, as well as those who are, will be instantly available to 18,000 local, state, federal and international law enforcement agencies. The facial recognition technology can identify 16,000 distinct features of a person’s face, and compare them at a rate of more than 1 million faces per second, with other photos held by police agencies.


Three of the most important threats to what remains of our civil liberties include how social unrest resulting from extreme environmental changes can easily lead to redefining what constitutes criminal behavior. A second major problem is that the facial recognition software has a 20 percent failure rate. And the third threat is the one now plaguing local police across the United States: namely, how their biases and misinterpretations lead to police actions that result in the death of innocent people.

The increased reliance upon computer-mediated learning at all levels of education contributes to the conformity of thinking needed in the techno-fascist state. Lost are the ethnically diverse, intergenerational narratives passed forward through face-to-face and mentoring relationships, which leave students exposed to the myths that serve the interests of the controlling elites of scientists, computer scientists and engineers, corporate heads and the military establishment. The guiding ideology and moral codes first articulated in the early 18th century by Johannes Kepler’s suggestion that life processes should be understood as machine-like continue to be reinforced both by the computer scientists who have announced the beginning of the post-biological world, and their followers who rely upon the values of efficiency, accountability, profits, data and purposive rationality to engineer machines that replicate human behaviors and thought processes.Comparing Historical Fascism and Techno-FascismThe questions that need to be asked about the parallels between the European varieties of fascism and American right-wing groups include the following: Is there a parallel between how the German National Socialists in the 1930s manipulated the democratic process to gain support of their totalitarian agenda and how the National Rifle Association (NRA), for example, uses the protection of the US Constitution and its ability to keep Congress supporting its agenda of arming right-wing, hyper-patriotic Americans? What about the parallels between the male-dominated fascist movements in Europe and the male-dominated fields of computer science, engineering, national security agencies, the military establishment and corporations whose future is tied to the digital revolution? Does the concern with data, efficiency and a vision of progress that is easily interpreted in the language of social Darwinism reflect the West’s deep assumptions that this is not only a human-centered universe but also one that should be guided by the scientific and culturally uninformed rationalism of men?

Fascism also relies upon the combination of conformity in thought and values, the loss of historical memory and a perceived crisis or endpoint that requires the collective energy and loyalty of the young and old. In addition, there needs to be a significant percentage of the population that is hyper-patriotic, thinks in clichés and is willing to support the use of imprisonment and torture of those who challenge the rise of techno-fascism, especially those labeled as environmentalists who will be viewed, as like the Jews in Nazi Germany, as weakening the power of the state and impeding progress.

DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES HAVE INTRODUCED IRREVERSIBLE CULTURAL CHANGES, SUCH AS UNDERMINING LOCAL DEMOCRACY.

Digitally mediated learning, which is heavily dependent upon print- and data-based accounts that encode the taken-for-granted cultural assumption (and ideology) of the people who write the programs, reinforces a mindset that responds to short explanations that do not lead to the experience of boredom associated with long-term memory, narratives and written accounts. The ways in which the social media reinforce the importance of the shifting sense of immediacy and instant responses to the anonymous Others ensure that the emergence of a fascist state will go unrecognized. The systems of local control involving a variety of democratic practices and traditions of ecological wisdom must first be lost to memory. Where in the digitally mediated curriculum will students learn about these traditions, when the ideology underlying the digital revolution represents traditions, including local decision-making, as sources of backwardness and as impediments to students creating their own ideas from the wealth of context free data available on the internet?It must be recognized that digital technologies have indispensable uses that vary across a wide range of cultural activities, from medicine, scientific research, monitoring and maintaining the society’s technological and economic infrastructure, education and nearly every facet of the industrial and consumer-dependent culture. But the digital technologies have also introduced irreversible cultural changes, such as undermining local democracy (did we vote for any of these technologies?), creating a new generation that is unaware of the political dangers and threats to personal security that accompany the loss of privacy, undermining the face-to-face intergenerational narratives essential to maintaining ethnic identities and the traditions of the cultural commons that strengthen patterns of mutual solidarity while reducing dependency upon consumerism, and further strengthening the longstanding traditions in the West of elevating abstract knowledge over ecologically informed ways of thinking.Today, the internet is shortening people’s attention spans to the point where little more than slogans and sound bites now serve as the basis of political decision-making. Masking disinformation as models of factual accuracy and objective reporting, Fox News has conditioned millions of Americans to accept ideologically driven propaganda, which further reduces the likelihood of mass resistance to the techno-fascist agenda.Will We Resist?The most critical question is whether there will be resistance to how everyday lives are being increasingly monitored, motivated to pursue the increasingly narrow economic agenda of the emerging techno-fascist culture and stripped of historical values and identity. Will enough of the public recognize the dangers that lie ahead and will they be able to articulate the importance of what is being lost, including how what is being lost undermines the diversity of cultural commons experiences that are more ecologically sustainable? It is important to note that the computer scientists who play a central role in articulating the ideology that underlies the emerging techno-fascist culture totally ignore the cultural and linguistic roots of the deepening ecological crisis. The title of the book written by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler, Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think (2012), could serve as the anthem as we march into the future envisioned by the techno-fascists. The scientific justification for replacing humans and their diverse cultures with the culture created by super-intelligent computers, according to a number of computer scientists following the lead of Ray Kurzweil, is being controlled by nature’s process of natural selection.In order to understand the traditional defenses against totalitarian regimes now being lost, we need to focus more specifically upon the cultural transformations that occur as students spend more of their day in classrooms where computer-mediated learning increasingly displaces face-to-face interaction with teachers and professors who might spark their curiosity to explore beyond the orthodoxies of the day. The many hours of the day texting friends, playing video games and exploring the seemingly endless boundaries of cyberspace also shorten attention spans in ways that undermine long-term memory. Speed and context-free slogans have now replaced depth of understanding and critical judgment.As surveillance systems are increasingly being used to anticipate acts of terrorism, where crime will occur next in communities, perhaps it is time to stop referring to surveillance and to call it what it is: a policing system. The next step will be to monitor potential sources of dissent – a problem that scientists are now working on as they study the connections between people’s vocabularies and their patterns of thinking. Other scientists are making progress along the same pathway pioneered by Nazi scientists by developing facial recognition technologies that will be globally connected. Scientists are also working to discover the chemical changes needed to eliminate bad memories (as well as good memories such as privacy and a life free of commercialism). The next step is to adapt the genetic technologies (CRISPR) that now exist for engineering conceptually and morally compliant babies needed in the techno-fascist state.

The expansion of surveillance of people’s lives adds another layer to the fascist political agenda of the American right-wing groups that mirror key characteristics of the fascism in European countries. Their social agenda includes placing barriers in people’s ability to vote; the use of the prison system to control a large segment of the poor and non-white population; the intertwining of fundamentalist religions and segments of the government focused on national security, and using the military to globalize the American way; suppressing basic human rights, especially for women; undermining the rights of workers to organize for the purpose of opposing being exploited; and allowing fraudulent elections in which the super-wealthy are able to control the outcome of state and federal elections.The expansion of technological and corporate power involves greater reliance upon the use of context free metaphors such as “national security” and “terrorist” to justify using the power of the police against individuals and social groups engaged in demonstrations and acts of resistance against the environmentally destructive corporations. As the sources of protein become even more limited due to the warming and acidification of the oceans, and as many other scenarios play out as ecological systems collapse, greater social unrest will occur in response to a variety of issues that the money-controlled state and federal governments have not addressed. In short, a deepening ecological crisis and the increasing displacement of humans by machines will result, and techno-fascism will become the new normal. And just as the European varieties of fascism led to more violence in the world, techno-fascism is heading down the same lawless pathway with hackers and global cyberattacks becoming the new normal against which we have no protection.




The Roots Of Techno-Fascism

https://truthout.org/articles/is-the-digital-revolution-sowing-the-seeds-of-a-techno-fascist-future/


Estelle Ellison

·May 26, 2023

The technological apparatus of the surveillance state is dizzying in scope and ability. It all offers today’s reactionaries an unparalleled level of adaptability and deceit that compliments their arsenal of violence that has accumulated oppressive techniques over many centuries. While many liberal opportunists hope to work within an industry whose fascist qualities are already extremely explicit, the state becomes more emboldened in its attempts to make abolition impossible.
This is not an analysis of technological means nor is it a call to action for people to try to wrest tools out of the hands of techno-fascism. This is, instead, a critical inspection of the reactionary social dynamics that are aided by techno-fascism. During this cultural war, oppression manifests alongside new vectors of power that are a direct product of this relationship between social technologies and their disparate users. Here, we are focusing on why these technologies are being utilized this way rather than how these technologies operate.
The national political stage decries echo chambers and advocates for a free-marketplace of ideas where the merits of genocide must be entertained before deciding whether to condemn it. In this capitalist social forum, the presumption of good intentions and the ignorance of harmful impact both absolve people of responsibility for any and all resulting consequences of interfacing with techno-fascism. As marginalized people are being eradicated, the responsibility for this violence is obscured behind cryptic webs of plausible deniability and disguised eugenicist logic.
Among strong disincentives to acknowledge world-threatening material consequences for everything that makes capitalist normalcy possible, we are faced with an unserious liberalism that mistakes the inclusion of and concessions to fascist ideology for progressive saviorism. This social phenomenon is juxtaposed with reactionaries and opportunists who wish to be seen as logical and relatable. Between them is an implication that the left and right stewards of capitalism are better than outright nazis who make no attempt to obfuscate their intentions. In this way, americans elevate the importance of feeling better than open fascists far above the need for the competent collective ability to disempower fascists. Indeed, the latter is depicted as something proven obsolete by the former.
Emphasis on this feeling rather than actual material consequences in people’s everyday lives imbues all who fall prey to this colonial trap with an inclination to excuse fascist violence. The confidence that comes exclusively from feeling progressive instead of from effectively dismantling oppressive systems is itself very compatible with techno-fascism. Those who distance themselves from the reactionary attitudes and behaviors shown to them by an attention economy simply congratulate themselves for knowing better, while others who see something to gain from eugenics and genocide are ever more neatly folded into fascist ideologies.
Again, the all-important feeling of progressivism makes way for an apathetic distance from matters of oppression, preventing even the option of material opposition to fascism from occurring to most americans. It is in this same twisted logic that merely tolerating people of marginalized identities is seen as sufficient for delivering a self-important progressive “feeling.” However difficult it may be for liberals to see, understand and respect queer and trans personhood, choosing not to openly call for their removal from public life is seen as a job well done. This could not be a better foundation for above-ground fascist attacks on queer and trans life. In this way, techno-fascist mobilizations are relatively frictionless with assured possession of agreeable platforms that allow for widespread coordinated efforts to foment white supremacist violence from the state and its most reactionary citizens.
The displacement of queer and trans personhood predates today’s techno-fascist apparatus, as does the battle against bodily autonomy. But those who would gain from defeating everyone whose very existence is a perceived threat against patriarchal power see unhindered opportunity in the tools and riches offered by techno-fascism. For every person who quietly wishes they did not have to see human reminders of wealth disparity in the US, there is another person who feels emboldened to advocate for the extermination of homeless people.
In this cultural war, fascists correctly believe that they will find like-minded people who are willing to act on their beliefs. In the face of both democrats and liberal opportunists who advocate for the incarceration of those who engage in community self-defense against fascist violence, why wouldn’t reactionaries all strike while the iron is hot
Added to the calendar on Mon, Jul 8, 2024 10:54PM
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The TechnoFascists like Elon Musk, Peter Tiel, Larry Ellison support a US and global dictatorship and theft of labor and national resources in the US and around the world. Elon Musk supported the coup in Bolivia and said he has the right to control the lithium. He also supports the fascist Milei
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Trump wants fascist dictatorship where he can grab the wealth and resources. and he is working with fascist Milei and other fascists in the US and around the world. He is also union busting around the world from the Swedish Tesla service workers , Berlin Tesla workers and workers at Tesla in the US as well as Space X.
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