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.

Microsoft Wants to Dominate the Games Industry w/ Rob Zacny

January 27, 2022 0:54:30 39.28 MB Downloads: 0

Paris Marx is joined by Rob Zacny to discuss the potential consequences of Xbox’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, and what subscriptions and consolidation might mean for the future of games and the industry.Rob Zacny is a senior editor at Waypoint and co-host of Waypoint Radio. Follow Rob on Twitter at @RobZacny.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.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:Rob discussed the consequences of the proposed acquisition with his colleague Patrick Klepek.Microsoft plans to buy Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion.In November, Phil Spencer said he was troubled by the harassment and abuse at Activision Blizzard.QA workers at Activision’s Raven Software are seeking to unionize. The company said it won’t recognize the union, and is reorganizing the division.A new Game Developers Conference found 55% think the industry should unionize.On January 18, the US Federal Trade Commission began a process to rewrite its merger guidelines.Google shut down its Stadia game studios at least in part due to Microsoft’s acquisition of Zenimax.At GDC in 2005, a developer rant session featuring Warren Spector, Jason Della Rocca, Greg Costikyan, Brenda Laurel, and Chris Hecke presented a grim picture of where the industry was going.Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)

How Evangelicals Emulate Startup Culture w/ Corrina Laughlin

January 20, 2022 0:48:49 35.18 MB Downloads: 0

Paris Marx is joined by Corrina Laughlin to discuss how evangelical Christians have adapted to modern technologies, how churches have emulated startups, the growth of the faith tech sector, and whether there’s anything that can be learned from their tech experiments.Corrina Laughlin is the author of Redeem All: How Digital Life Is Changing Evangelical Culture. She’s also an instructor of media studies at Loyola Marymount University. Follow Corrina on Twitter at @CKLaughlin.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.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:Corrina wrote an article about why evangelicals are early adopters for The Atlantic.Pew estimates about 24% of US adults identify as born again or evangelical Protestants.The 1925 Scopes Trial was over the teaching of evolution in Tennessee schools.Life.Church makes a ton of high production value resources available to churches looking to start up and expand what they’re doing.The prosperity gospel is a pro-capitalist theological tradition preached by some very wealth pastors, including Kenneth Copeland.Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)

Envisioning Platform Socialism w/ James Muldoon

January 13, 2022 0:54:7 38.99 MB Downloads: 0

Paris Marx is joined by James Muldoon to discuss his vision for platform socialism and the different ways we could reorganize platforms to serve the public good over corporate profit.James Muldoon is the author of Platform Socialism: How to Reclaim our Digital Future from Big Tech. He’s also a senior lecturer at the University of Exeter and the Head of Digital Research at Autonomy. Follow James on Twitter at @james_muldoon_.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.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:James wrote about why web3 won’t save the internet.Paris wrote about what’s wrong with discourses about decentralization and why we should nationalize Amazon.Francesca Bria was interviewed by Crypto Syllabus about web3, decentralization, and her experience with municipal tech projects.Facebook’s Project Amplify ensured users saw positive stories about the company.Antonio Negri and Dalla Costa were among the Italian Autonomist Marxists thinking about the social factory. Karl Marx wrote about the concept of surplus value.G.D.H. Cole wrote about guild socialism. James also mentions the work of Otto Neurath.Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)

How Roblox Exploits Children w/ Quintin Smith

January 06, 2022 0:45:47 33.0 MB Downloads: 0

Paris Marx is joined by Quintin Smith to discuss how Roblox profits from the labor of children, built an exploitative in-game economy, and needs to be regulated as soon as possible.Quintin Smith is a journalist working with People Make Games and Shut Up & Sit Down. Follow Quintin on Twitter at @Quinns108.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.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:Quintin did an investigation of Roblox for People Make Games. Watch part 1 and part 2.Roblox went public on March 9, 2021, hitting a valuation of $45 billion. It’s now over $50 billion and benefiting from the metaverse hype.More than half of US kids and teens under 16 are on Roblox. It’s estimated that half the platform’s users globally are under 13 years old.Cecilia D’Anastasio reported on fascist role-playing games in Roblox.Games featuring sex and nudity are not always caught by Roblox, exposing kids to them.Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)

Happy Holidays from Tech Won’t Save Us!

December 30, 2021 0:12:11 8.8 MB Downloads: 0

To end 2021, Paris Marx provides a quick update on the podcast and what’s coming next year.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.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:Paris’ book Road to Nowhere: What Silicon Valley Gets Wrong about the Future of Transportation comes out in July 2022.Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)

Silicon Valley Doesn’t Get Science Fiction w/ Annalee Newitz

December 23, 2021 0:57:6 41.15 MB Downloads: 0

Paris Marx is joined by Annalee Newitz to discuss what’s wrong with Silicon Valley’s understanding of science fiction, and how tech leaders use it to justify terrible futures.Annalee Newitz is the author of Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age and The Future of Another Timeline. They are also the co-host of Our Opinions Are Correct and a writer for NYT Opinion and New Scientist. Follow Annalee on Twitter at @Annaleen.🚨 T-shirts are now available!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.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:Annalee wrote about what tech companies don’t get about science fiction for New Scientist.Paris wrote about the dystopian future proposed by the metaverse.The Verge spoke to Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, but the interviewer suggested The Matrix was trying to predict where technology was going.In 1985, Ursula K. Le Guin wrote about science fiction and the future.Facebook is already failing to combat harassment in VR, and its incoming CTO thinks doing so in the metaverse is “practically impossible.”People mentioned: Frankenstein author Mary Shelley, JPL engineer Jack Parsons, and Trekonomics author Manu Saadia.Annalee’s reading suggestions: Ring Shout by P Djeli Clark, Murderbot series by Martha Wells, Infomocracy by Malka Older, An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King, Rosewater by Tade Thompson, Waste Tide by Chen Qiufan, Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie, and Broken Earth by N.K. Jemisin.Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)

The Video Game Industry Needs Unions w/ Gita Jackson

December 16, 2021 0:56:7 40.44 MB Downloads: 0

Paris Marx is joined by Gita Jackson to discuss the revelations of sexual harassment and discrimination at Activision Blizzard, how workers have organized in response to them, and what it all could mean for the future of the video games industry.Gita Jackson is a senior writer at Motherboard, Vice’s tech vertical. Follow Gita on Twitter at @xoxogossipgita.🚨 T-shirts are now available!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.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:In July, California’s fair employment department sued Activision Blizzard, revealing shocking interal details, including a “Cosby Suite” and harassing prospective workers at a job fair.In November, it was revealed that CEO Bobby Kotick knew about it and had settled harassment lawsuits. Afterward, workers walked out but the board stood behind Kotick.The heads of Playstation and Xbox released statements criticizing Activision Blizzard’s leadership.Workers are now passing around union cards under the name A Better ABK as the company sends anti-union statements. They have also set up a strike fund.The EA Spouse Letter was written in 2004.Gita wrote about Comic Book Workers United, the union seeking recognition at Image Comics.The Mandalorian used Unreal Engine to create virtual sets, and Unity just bought part of Weta Digital to expand its virtual production.Since recording, Vodeo Games has formed the first video game union in North America.Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)

Web3 is a Scam, Not a Revolution w/ Stephen Diehl

December 09, 2021 0:58:49 42.38 MB Downloads: 0

Paris Marx is joined by Stephen Diehl to discuss why technologists are divided on crypto, what’s wrong with blockchain, why crypto assets are scams, and why web3 is a rebranding effort.Stephen Diehl is software engineer and crypto skeptic based in London. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @smdiehl.🚨 T-shirts are now available!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.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:Stephen has written about how to understand crypto assets, the problem with “decentralization”, the speculative mania inherent to crypto, why web3 is bullshit, and more on his blog.Some guy bought a beer with crypto and it showed one of the big flaws with using crypto as a means of payment.Andreessen Horowitz one of the main players lobbying for lax crypto regulations in the United States.How Albania’s pyramid scheme crisis in the 1990s holds lessons for the today’s crypto mania.David Golumbia was on episode 67 (July 1, 2021) and Olivier Jutel was on episode 75 (August 26, 2021).Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)

Who Inspired Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos’ Space Visions? w/ Fred Scharmen

December 02, 2021 0:53:53 38.83 MB Downloads: 0

Paris Marx is joined by Fred Scharmen to discuss Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos’ visions for space colonization, the inspiration they draw from the work of Wernher von Braun and Gerard O’Neill, and what’s wrong with basing our future on those ideas.Fred Scharmen is the author of Space Forces: A Critical History of Life in Outer Space. He teaches architecture and urban design at Morgan State University’s School of Architecture and Planning and is the co-founder of the Working Group on Adaptive Systems. Follow Fred on Twitter at @sevensixfive.🚨 T-shirts are now available!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.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:Paris wrote about the billionaire space race and Jeff Bezos’ vision for space colonization.Wernher von Braun was a Nazi before becoming chief architect of NASA’s Saturn V rocket. He appeared in a 1955 Disney program about space flight, but his past was also criticized, including in a song by Tom Lehrer.Elon Musk has cited Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” as an inspiration and Jeff Bezos saved The Expanse when it was cancelled.Jeff Bezos’ ideas about space colonization come directly from Gerard O’Neill’s vision of space colonies floating in space.Adam Mann asked in the New Yorker whether Mars was really ours for the taking.The Just Space Alliance presents an alternative to the billionaire framing of space.Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)

Don’t Give Surveillance for Christmas w/ Chris Gilliard

November 25, 2021 0:57:5 41.13 MB Downloads: 0

Paris Marx is joined by Chris Gilliard to discuss the ethics of tech media recommending surveillance devices, aspects of “smart” technologies you might not have considered, and why we should think twice about surrounding ourselves with cameras and microphones.Chris Gilliard is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Shorenstein Center. Follow Chris on Twitter at @hypervisible.🚨 T-shirts are now available!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.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:Chris wrote about the history of home surveillance, and the concept of luxury surveillance with David Golumbia.Caroline Haskins went in-depth on what Ring does to communities.Health apps and fitness trackers help rich people but don’t do much for poor people.The New York Times thinks the Theranos scandal soured the media on Silicon Valley. (We don’t buy it.)US Infrastructure Bill will require monitoring systems for drunk driving in new vehicles as early as 2026.Amazon has worked to kill or undermine privacy legislation across 25 US states.In 2019, video circulated of a man talking to someone’s 8-year-old daughter after he hacked the Ring camera in her bedroom.In the US, wage theft matches all other property theft combined, but the media sensationalizes shoplifting while ignoring wage theft.Chris recommended people read Simone Brown’s Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness.The Wirecutter Union is asking people not to visit the website from November 25-29.Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)

Net-Zero Uses Technofixes to Delay Climate Action w/ Sabrina Fernandes

November 18, 2021 0:58:7 41.88 MB Downloads: 0

Paris Marx is joined by Sabrina Fernandes to discuss what came out of COP26, what it actually means to have net-zero emissions by 2050, and all the mechanisms that countries are developing to delay necessary action to reduce emissions.Sabrina Fernandes is an IRGAC postdoctoral fellow at Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung. She’s the producer of Tese Onze and a contributing editor at Jacobin. Follow Sabrina on Twitter at @safbf.🚨 T-shirts are now available!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.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:Sabrina and Claudia Horn wrote about COP26 and what Brazil’s far-right government was up to at the conference.Paris wrote about why Elon Musk won’t save us from the climate crisis.The International Rights of Nature Tribunal has a resource on the false solutions to the climate crisis.Melissa Moreano and Juliane Schumacher wrote about REDD+ and the discourse around forests at COP26.Daniel Aldana Cohen worked on the Green New Deal for Public Housing.COP26 agreed on the Glasgow Climate Pact, but pledges would still result in 2.4º of warming.Climate scientists say net-zero is about “a need to protect business as usual, not the climate.”Jeff Bezos should cut Amazon emissions, not focus on forests.Amazon’s emissions increased by 15% in 2019 and 19% in 2020.Painting the street white causes people to absorb the heat that streets aren’t.Juice Media did good videos on the problems with net-zero and carbon capture.Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)

How Amazon is Changing the Books We Read w/ Mark McGurl

November 11, 2021 0:49:9 35.43 MB Downloads: 0

Paris Marx is joined by Mark McGurl to discuss how Amazon is reshaping the publishing industry and altering the form of the novel itself.Mark McGurl is a Professor of Literature at Stanford University. He’s also the author of The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing and Everything and Less: The Novel in the Age of Amazon. Follow Mark on Twitter at @markjamesmcgurl.🚨 T-shirts are now available!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.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:Jeff Bezos’ valedictorian speech was about space colonization.Paris wrote about Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s early days.US publishers, authors, and booksellers have written to Congress about Amazon’s effective monopolization of book sales, with more than 50% of the US book market.Jane Friedman explains how Amazon shut down many of its writer-oriented programs, makes exclusivity hard to avoid, and dominates Kindle charts.Novels and authors mentioned: Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You, Colson Whitehead’s Harlem Shuffle, David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, Rachel Cusk, and Ben Lerner.Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)

Why the Metaverse Must Be Stopped w/ Brian Merchant

November 04, 2021 1:8:18 49.21 MB Downloads: 0

Paris Marx is joined by Brian Merchant to discuss Mark Zuckerberg’s big plans for the metaverse, everything that’s wrong with it, the concept’s scifi origins, and why Silicon Valley is desperate to make it happen.Brian Merchant is the author of The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone and Blood in the Machine, coming in 2022. Follow Brian on Twitter at @bcmerchant.🚨 T-shirts are now available!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.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:Brian wrote about the dystopian origins of the metaverse for Motherboard and why Silicon Valley wants it to succeed for The Atlantic.Paris wrote about how the metaverse is a way to get us to spend more time and money in digital spaces for Business Insider.Matthew Ball made the business case for the metaverse last year.Apple’s changes to iOS privacy settings cost Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Snapchat an estimated $9.85 billion in revenue.Emails sent by Oculus CEO Jason Rubin in 2018 asserted that consumers want the metaverse (something that’s not at all clear).David Karpf wrote about how VR keeps failing and getting revived for Wired.Apple’s AR headset or glasses are supposedly coming in 2022.Microsoft is trying to get in on the metaverse with workplace applications of its own.Brian hosted a series for Motherboard about the themes of Dune.Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)

Can Nostalgia Inspire a Better Future? w/ Grafton Tanner

October 28, 2021 0:54:35 39.33 MB Downloads: 0

Paris Marx is joined by Grafton Tanner to discuss how social and environmental crises fuel nostalgia, how companies profit from it, and whether it can be reoriented to inspire a better future.Grafton Tanner is the author of “The Hours Have Lost Their Clock: The Politics of Nostalgia” from Repeater Books. Follow Grafton on Twitter at @GraftonTanner.🚨 T-shirts are now available!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.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:Paris reviewed Grafton’s book in Jacobin.TikTok has already gone through a phase of nostalgia for the early pandemic and its lockdowns.Malls have been closing for years, but many people have nostalgia for their heyday.In 1996, Jennifer Light compared emerging digital spaces to shopping malls.Matthew Ball wrote one of the key essays on what the metaverse should look like (from a corporate perspective).A message mentioned in the opening crawl of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was broadcast exclusively in Fortnite.When Amazon bought MGM, it said it wanted to redevelop much of its accumulated intellectual property.At the end of the 2010s, some people questioned what algorithms were doing to our sense of time.The internet doesn’t get properly preserved and its history is being permanently lost.Tim Maughan wrote about how the world is too complex.Nishant Shahani’s “Queer Retrosexualities: The Politics of Reparative Return” and Badia Ahad-Legardy’s “Afro-Nostalgia: Feeling Good in Contemporary Black Culture.”Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)

What Gig Work Means for Women in India w/ Noopur Raval

October 21, 2021 0:53:40 38.67 MB Downloads: 0

Paris Marx is joined by Noopur Raval to discuss India’s gig economy, the specific conditions of women who provide services through beauty and wellness apps, and how workers organize to improve their conditions.Noopur Raval is a postdoctoral research fellow at the AI Now Institute at New York University. Follow Noopur on Twitter at @tetisheri.🚨 T-shirts are now available!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.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:Noopur wrote about organizing in the gig economy and the conditions of workers in beauty and wellness.Julia Ticona and her colleagues wrote about tech’s impacts on domestic work.More than 100 women who worked through a beauty app recently went on strike outside the company’s office.Aditi Surie has written about platforms and informal work in India.Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)