The Tech Elite’s “Utopian” Dream
This article was originally published on my Substack, Trend Mill.
In the film Don’t Look Up, which depicts the impending end of humanity at the hands of a giant comet, a Zuckerbergian-esque tech overlord is adamant he has the solution. And, much like IRL, everyone eats that shit up, putting their utmost faith in the genius of the tech guy to save us. But when his army of robots fails to destroy the comet, he immediately flees, alongside a cabal of other wealthy elites, into a spaceship destined for a new planet.
It might seem outlandish, but it was likely based on the rumors that tech’s richest are indeed already hard at work plotting their escape from this planet for when it inevitably combusts into a ball of flames. Musk may try to sell us the dream of life on Mars, but that dream doesn’t apply to anyone but the richest.
As author Douglas Rushkoff put it in his brilliant article, Survival of the Richest:
“If a few people do reach escape velocity and somehow survive in a bubble on Mars — despite our inability to maintain such a bubble even here on Earth in either of two multibillion-dollar Biosphere trials — the result will be less a continuation of the human diaspora than a lifeboat for the elite.”
It’s all part of the god complex surrounding the tech titans and the VCs who got rich off the back of them. In truth, it’s a god complex that we’re guilty of feeding, adorning them with praise and press at every turn, and failing to hold them accountable and demand change when things hit the skids.
However it transpired, they believe with every fiber of their beings that they are better than us. That we owe them for the greatness they’ve bestowed us with.
Greatness like social media, that has damaged just about every aspect of society. Greatness like driverless cars that can’t drive properly and electric cars made of cheap materials that fall apart. Greatness like the Metaverse, which, despite touting a “new form of connection,” will only increase loneliness and social disconnection. Greatness like A.I., that will completely rip up the job landscape, scrape all our data, and make the rich richer.