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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Science Fiction As Tech Criticism w/ Brian Merchant and Claire Evans
Paris Marx is joined by Brian Merchant and Claire Evans to discuss their new science fiction anthology, how it uses the genre to critically interrogate the technologies being rolled out around us, and how it pushes back on the desire of tech billionaires to use science fiction to get the public to buy into their corporate futures.
Brian Merchant is a tech journalist and author of The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone. Claire L. Evans is the author of Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet and singer of the Grammy-nominated pop group YACHT. They are the cofounders of Terraform at VICE's Motherboard and the co-editors of Terraform: Watch/Worlds/Burn. Follow Brian on Twitter at @bcmerchant and follow Claire at @TheUniverse.
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:
- Brian and Claire wrote about their science fiction anthology and what you can expect from it.
- Some of the stories mentioned in our conversation are “Busy” by Omar El Akkad, “One Day, I Will Die on Mars” by Paul Ford, and “Devolution” by Ellen Ullman.
- Brian also wrote about the metaverse and the science fiction that inspired it for Vice.
- Langdon Winner wrote about the concept of epistemological Luddism in his book Autonomous Technology. Zachary Loeb expanded on it in a great essay called “Luddism for These Ludicrous Times.”
- Cory Doctorow wrote about science fiction being a Luddite literature.