Silicon Valley has a solution for everything, but who do its ideas really serve? Every Thursday, Paris Marx is joined by a new guest to critically examine the tech industry, its thought leaders, and the worldview it spreads. They challenge the notion that tech alone can drive our world forward by showing that separating tech from politics has consequences for us all, especially the most vulnerable. But if tech won't save us, what will? This podcast isn't simply about tearing tech down; it also presents radical ideas for tech designed for human flourishing instead of surveillance, acquisitions, or to boost stock prices. A better world is possible, and so is better technology.
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Amazon’s Highly Subsidized Foray Into Middle-Earth w/ Thomas Coughlan
Paris Marx is joined by Thomas Coughlan to discuss Amazon’s foray into Tolkien’s fantasy world, the big subsidies it received to film in New Zealand, and how its decision to move the series to the UK is giving fuel to demands to reassess the support for Hollywood productions.
Thomas Coughlan is a senior political reporter at NZ Herald, and formerly was a journalist at Stuff and Newsroom. Follow Thomas on Twitter at @coughlthom.
Tech Won’t Save Us offers a critical perspective on tech, its worldview, and wider society with the goal of inspiring people to demand better tech and a better world. Follow the podcast (@techwontsaveus) and host Paris Marx (@parismarx) on Twitter, support the show on Patreon, and sign up for the weekly newsletter.
The podcast is produced by Eric Wickham and part of the Harbinger Media Network.
Also mentioned in this episode:
- Thomas wrote for Stuff about the effort by the New Zealand government to attract Amazon to New Zealand and how it hoped the relationship would go beyond the TV series. For the NZ Herald, he also wrote that Amazon’s decision to move the series away from New Zealand will have implications for tourism and wasn’t communicated to the government until the last minute.
- Benjamin Clark wrote about how film subsidies have been essential to attracted big Hollywood productions to New Zealand.
- Madelaine Chapman dug into how much Peter Jackson has benefited from those subsidy schemes.
- Amazon is spending about $464 million on the first season of The Rings of Power.
- Amazon announced it was moving future seasons of the show to the UK in August 2021, causing frustration in New Zealand.
- There were concerns about safety on the set of The Rings of Power after stunt workers were injured and they didn’t seem to be properly reported to authorities.
- In November 2021, Unity acquired the technology division of Jackson’s Weta Digital.
- There’s also a growing debate in New Zealand over whether it should be the site of major data centers.