Accelerationism is Terrorism

by Kevin Munger on October 17, 2023

Accelerating change has become both addictive and intolerable. At this point, the balance among stability, change, and tradition has been upset; society has lost both its roots in shared memories and its bearings for innovation…An unlimited rate of change makes lawful community meaningless.

Ivan Illich, Tools for Conviviality

The ideology of Silicon Valley is clear: move fast and break things, scale at all costs, pump and dump. The lingering earth-flavored utopianism of the California Ideology softened the edge, and American two-party politics ensured at least a facade of responsibility, but both have largely fallen away over the past year.

I can point to Musk’s acquisition of Twitter, tech company layoffs, general societal Jokerfication post-Covid and the takeoff of generative AI as proximate causes, but the root cause is an unsustainable concentration of power among frustrated young men; more specifically, among engineers.1

C.P. Snow famously described the cleavage between The Two Cultures in Western society, between science and the humanities. In 1959, Snow observed the social supremacy of the humanities—his argument was that they needed to learn to understand the other culture, for the benefit of society.

But now the engineers are in charge. Universities are STEM departments and professional schools, with humanities a luxury curiosity. Television and now social media has devastated literary culture. We no longer believe in the rule of law or in liberalism more broadly.

So now they’re openly talking about Accelerationism, “effective accelerationism,” even, leaping into the gaping hole in vibe space left by the implosion of FTX/Effective Altruism. Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen has been pushing this for many months, and yesterday released

“The Techno-Optimist Manifesto”

The content is far too stupid to engage with; it takes 10x the effort to refute bullshit than to produce it. Instead, we should think about this document as post-textual. The medium is natural language, but what it encodes is not linear, conceptual reason but vibes. The concluding list of thinkers and fictional characters is simply a clout bomb.

This is a collection of tweets: pure discourse, responding to The Discourse that came before it. In contrast to the idea of individual agency at the heart of liberalism, there is no agency here: the writing is driven entirely by discourse and vibes. It is all implied by what came before it. None of means anything.

Andreessen primarily (and repeatedly) identifies as an engineer, and has for years been telling us to “build.” I have immense respect for engineers; the practice of transmuting reason into action in the physical world is beautiful. Ortega y Gasset says that

“reason is that which brings us into contact with reality…the rest is nothing but…intellect, a mere homely exercise leading nowhere, that first amuses, then depraves, and finally causes man to despair and to despise himself.”

This is absolutely a failure mode of the wordcels Andreessen that and his identity group so despise. The thrust of my metascientific work is to bring science in closer contact with reality, so I’m acutely aware of the problem of a purely virtual intellect.

The tragedy is that Andreessen is not an engineer, not in the way that matters.2

He and his identity group are programmers. Unlike engineers, they make no contact with embodied, physical reality; functionally, they’re sitting at a laptop and manipulating symbols, just like the wordcels.

Flusser, in 1983’s Post-History:

The programmatic ontology leads to the invention of computers and intelligent instruments, and to the transformation of society into a cybernetic system composed of functionaries and apparatus…for programmers, man is a functionary to be programmed to live in a symbolic context.

Of course, Andreessen agrees, with the gleeful understanding that digital media turns people into slobbering dogs. This is the kind of thing he wants to “build.”

Contrast this with the claim in the manifesto that

We had a problem of isolation, so we invented the Internet.

Just sit and think about these two claims for a while.



So far, so evil. What makes this a tragedy (in the technical sense) is that it is the hubris and lack of awareness that ultimately dooms the programmer. Flusser:

The apparent dominant class shall be the programmers, although an attentive analysis will also reveal that they too are specialized functionaries. The apparatus will form the real dominant class. It will be an inhuman society.

Programmers assume themselves players of programs, for whom what counts is not the modification of the world but the game…for them, “to live” is to participate in an absurd game. And that is their lifestyle…they are themselves programmed to program.

The dominant meta-program of today is, of course, the market: the ultimate tool for transforming the world into symbols (prices). Venture capitalists like Andreessen are programming the programmers of software to program the users—but they are themselves programmed by the market.

Obviously, Soviet-style command economies are not the answer. The manifesto notes that “Hayek’s Knowledge Problem overwhelms any centralized economic system.” That’s true for a vapid definition of “centralized,” but mainstream economists like Ronald Coase and Herbert Simon have long observed that the idealized “price-taking” firm is in reality quite rare, and that large, hierarchical organizations structure much of the economy. The latter, in characteristically charming fashion, says

Suppose that [“a mythical visitor from Mars”] approaches the Earth from space, equipped with a telescope that revels social structures. The firms reveal themselves, say, as solid green areas with faint interior contours marking out divisions and departments. Market transactions show as red lines connecting firms, forming a network in the spaces between them.

No matter whether our visitor approached the United States or the Soviet Union, urban China or the European Community, the greater part of the space below it would be within green areas, for almost all of the inhabitants would be employees, hence inside the firm boundaries.

At the end of this podcast interview, Andreessen muses about the fate of cybernetics. This has been an obsession of mine for the past three years, so perhaps I can add some historical context to his claim that “it kind of went away or got a lot more sedate after the 60s.”

One strand of cybernetics fed directly into the ecology movement that Andreessen despises and without which we would be even less equipped to deal with climate change. Another strand became central to the business school curriculum as management science. Part of it became a bit “woo” and fed into the New Age milieu. Mainly, it stayed where it started, in the military.

But it also took the form of cybernetic socialism, a genuine alternative to the market that takes Hayek seriously. What happened to cybernetic socialism? As I wrote in The Tragedy of Stafford Beer, the CIA and the Chilean military destroyed it. That was the way forward, it still is the way forward: society as what Beer calls a Liberty Machine, a “dynamic viable system that has liberty as its output.”

But Andreessen is more interested in the right hand of cybernetics—he specifically and repeatedly endorses the philosophy of Nick Land, the most famous proponent of Accelerationism. I can’t believe it’s come to this.

Thiel famously said that capitalism and democracy are incompatible, and chose the former.

Land’s Accelerationism says that (techno)capitalism and humanity are incompatible, and yet he still chose the former.3

So make no mistake. Accelerationism is terrorism.4

It violates what Ortega y Gasset calls “man’s most fundamental right…the right to continuity.” Technological accelerationism aims to eliminate the human and instantiate the world of the inhuman functionary. The current rate of change is already incompatible with human dignity, and they want to speed it up. From the manifesto:

We believe in accelerationism – the conscious and deliberate propulsion of technological development – to ensure the fulfillment of the Law of Accelerating Returns.

For people who valorize “The Scientific Method,” they don’t seem to understand what a “Law” is. If this is a Law of Nature, it’s odd that humans have to “fulfill” it. If it’s a human Law, who passed it? Can we overturn it?



But again, debating the individual points of the manifesto and critiquing the manifest illogic is playing a sucker’s game. Andreessen is a programmer, not a writer: he is manipulating symbols functionally, to produce the desired output, not because he believes they have any meaning.

What is the desired output? To program smart young people to become programmers (software engineers and startup founders). The mindshare of Effective Altruism among this critical class of elite college students seems to have really shaken Silicon Valley VCs, and this is just a ham-fisted attempt to pile on.

And, of course, to prevent any regulation of AI. It’s a venture capital firm, investing in a dangerous new technology, and they don’t want to be regulated. That’s it. It’s super boring.

Twenty years ago, social media companies started telling us “Hey! Here’s a new digital media thing you can use!” We individually used it, or didn’t. And then we all used it, because we had to. Just like the car. The existence of the technology restricts human freedom and agency. And now the damage has been done, social media has reshaped everything and to ban it today would itself be intolerably rapid change.

Now, AI companies are telling us “Hey! Here’s a new digital media thing you can use!” We individually use it, or don’t.

If we want to be able to choose not to use AI ten years in the future, we need to act, collectively, now.

I argue that we should ban LLMs using first-person pronouns, both to preserve human dignity and to demonstrate to ourselves and to the Accelerationists that such action is possible.

To conclude, a final quote from Ortega y Gasset (a major inspiration for Martin Gurri, one of “Patron Saints of Techno-Optimism” haha):

It would be vain to attempt to study technology as an independent entity; it is not directed by a single purpose known to us beforehand. The idea of progress, pernicious in all fields when applied without caution, has been disastrous here also. It assumes that man’s vital desires are always and that the only thing that varies in the course of time is the progressive advancement towards their fulfillment. But this is as wrong as wrong can be. The idea of human life, the profile of well-being, has changed countless times…The fact that we ourselves are urged on by an irresistible hunger for inventions does not justify the inference that it has always been thus.



  1. Like so much of contemporary weirdness, this frustration is heightened by the confluence of radical new communication technology and the continued weight of Boomer Ballast—in addition to various structural changes in society and the economy that have not been addressed by government policy.
  2. Elon Musk, for better or for worse, is an engineer; since we’re just accusing our enemies of ressentiment these days, it’s straightforward to see it as the basis of Andreessen’s beef with Musk.
  3. Or whatever, he says it’s inevitable and that idea that we can still choose is a fantasy. Vibes-wise, he certainly seems to prefer capitalism to humanity.
  4. I don’t mean this in the sense of the late 2010s white supremacist “accelerationism.” Obviously that accelerationism was terrorism, but I’m not saying that e/acc people are white supremacists—just terrorists for the reasons outlined in the rest of the essay.



Chetan Murthy 10.17.23 at 7:26 pm

Andreesen isn’t just a programmer: he’s a bad programmer. It is well-known that on the original NCSA Mosaic team, he was the weakest programmer, and hence ended up doing most of the public relations work. And this is somewhat common in the biz: the people who end up get rich aren’t the ones who are the best at programming: they’re the ones who were mediocre at it, and spent time and energy honing …. other skills.

It’s like the “gentleman caller” in The Glass Menagerie, who studied radio and … public speaking.


Metalawyer 10.17.23 at 7:39 pm

Like most of what comes from Andreesen and his cohort, this is mostly a shriek of terror and desperation at the end of zero percent interest rate money leading to a fall-off in money flowing into his company. This is abundantly shown in his reference to investments in military.


Mike Adamson 10.17.23 at 8:44 pm

Well this doesn’t sound good


Brett 10.17.23 at 8:53 pm

What happened to cybernetic socialism? As I wrote in The Tragedy of Stafford Beer, the CIA and the Chilean military destroyed it. That was the way forward, it still is the way forward: society as what Beer calls a Liberty Machine, a “dynamic viable system that has liberty as its output.”

If Chile’s economy from 1970-73 was supposed to be cybernetic socialism, then it was a fiasco that isn’t better remember as such because of the coup that followed:


Sashas 10.17.23 at 9:24 pm

I’ve calmed down quite a bit since my first reading, but I would still ask that we please stop letting alt-right assholes re-define terms.

Musk is not an engineer.
Andreessen is (presumably – I don’t know him) not a programmer. The discussion of “programmer” as an identity in this post bears no resemblance I can see to programmer as an identity that I see in my students every day.
Accelerationism has an existing definition based in the idea of intentionally hastening a “decline” into (chaos/barbarism/disaster/something-bad) because it is claimed/believed to be necessary in order to build something better than the present.


Ebenezer Scrooge 10.17.23 at 10:09 pm

I’m not sure I agree with the premise of this piece. Tech bros aren’t engineers, although they so legitimate themselves. They’re businessmen, of the Gordon Gekko persuasion. The business model of most tech companies has nothing to do with technology–it is largely about attaining monopoly power as a middleman in some transaction. Yes, they use technology–but the thing about most technologies is that you don’t have to be an engineer to be a user.

Don’t look at the stupid PR things they say. Look at what they do.


Dave M 10.18.23 at 1:51 am

Wow, that manifesto was indeed an impressive clump of stupid. The first quotation on the page shows as well that they have no self-understanding whatsoever: “You live in a deranged age — more deranged than usual, because despite great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing” [Walker Percy]. Well, that’s right: you guys don’t have the slightest clue.


Luis 10.18.23 at 5:30 am

“He and his identity group are programmers”. There is an interesting discussion to be had about whether programmers are engineers in the sense meant by this piece.

But I’d suggest you get to more or less the same end result by observing that while he wants to identify as a programmer, he hasn’t meaningfully been a programmer this millennium.. Much of what’s really going on here is, I think, actually about the psychological tension between wanting to identify as a programmer but knowing that he is actually, day-to-day, very much the exact kind of extractive, useless figure so many programmers despise.


KonfusedKat 10.18.23 at 5:34 am

Wow, the leaps of logic here leave me breathless. This is not helpful in light of growing skepticism of academe.


Matt Young 10.18.23 at 8:48 am

Andreessen was a programmer who was at the right place at the right time. He’s been a financer for much longer now. Thiel was always a financer. Musk has always been a failson dilletante.

What you’re describing here is less about the ephemeral “ideology of Silicon Valley” and much more about finance, capitalism, and the union set of rentier capitalism.

Anyone old enough to have lived and worked in the valley pre- and post- 2nd wave tech bubble can tell stories about the cultural and material shifts that have gone down over the past two decades. “Move fast and break things” was coined by a creepy guy from New Jersey with family money who styles himself after Caesar Augustus, not a rasputin-bearded guy living above a cafe in the lower haight working at HP, PARC, or SRI.

Now to be fair money was always in the valley; Sand Hill Road was a thing in the 20th century too. And that doesn’t even touch on (D)ARPA’s hand in making the valley what it became. But, again: the ideology has definitely shifted in the way that you describe, but that shift is not endogenous to silicon valley per se.


Zamfir 10.18.23 at 11:29 am

I am an “engineer” in the traditional sense, and I have also worked as a programmer. At least in my experience, its not true that traditional engineers are more in touch with physical reality then programmers. That’s most clear if your software has performance requirements, which make you very aware of the physical existence and limits of hardware.

But even if your work is more about functionality than speed, there is still a sense in which you are closer to “reality” than most “physical” engineers. Basically, the machine on your desk is a tool used to craft the product, and it is very similar to the environment in which the product is tested and used. It can be the literal same machine.

conrradt to my current job: I make calculations, sketch diagrams, write specifications, on a laptop. But then it leaves my desk. Someone else will then draw more detailed manufacturing plans. Some else again will cut, machine, weld, coat, assemble the product -using skills and machinery that I personally do not have, and and that differ greatly from my day environment. I might do some tests and inspections, but across a barrier (this too is often done by other people). I can, say, point out that a certain dimension is critical for functionality and out of spec, but I would typically not be able to fix that myself. I am somewhat involved in commission and troubleshooting of the final product, but that is still very different from daily operations and maintenance. And many engineers are not involved in such later stages at all, they will at best get a guided tour of the thing they worked on.

So, there is a sense in which making software is disembodied, working in a deliberately abstracted realm away from the physics. But in another sense, it can be more grounded than many “office” jobs, and more like a workshop or construction job.


Bob 10.18.23 at 12:29 pm

Kevin, this is a clearly a very sincere and heartfelt cri de coeur. But I feel that in your distress you have lost the ability to communicate effectively. I struggle to understand exactly what this thread is about beyond “technology,” “STEM,” and “something bad, to do with something called ‘accelerationism.'”


bekabot 10.18.23 at 2:30 pm

This is a what-did-you-think-would-happen moment. You take a bunch of young folk, most of them male, define them by their social disabilities, infect them with the idea that the reason that they can’t get along with other people is that they’re superior to the crowd, provide them with splendid life prospects, fail to provide them with friends (social disabilities, remember; we need to be able to keep track of the players), canalize them in such a way that their work is the only thing that matters to them, make sure they understand that their work is the only thing that matters to you as well as to them and that without it they’d just be sad ordinary chumps whom you’d look away from when you pass by on the street, and saturate them with money to the extent that it leaks out their pores. (They’re clever enough to build cachement basins under their feet, though, so that the human weeds they’re beset with aren’t inadvertently watered.)

What did you think would happen?


a person who remembers "revenge of the nerds" was produced by ted effin field 10.18.23 at 4:31 pm

@bekabot Who is “you” there? society? society handed every white kid who could make a computer do what they wanted 4 times out of 10 in the year 1990 infinite money, wealth and power, retooled the entire entertainment industry to cater to them and told them they were the smartest best people of all time. and what’s the social disability exactly? believing in caliper-style racism or that Women If You Think About It Are Conniving Sluts is not a social disability.


Doug K 10.18.23 at 8:00 pm

I was a programmer in the 80s, I knew many programmers. None of us got rich. As Chetan @1 says, the good programmers liked programming and did that. The bad programmers such as Andreesen switched to sales, marketing and PR, where the money is.

There are very few programmers left – instead we have what is misleadingly called software engineering, assembling things built on other people’s frameworks and systems. That is also not engineering as there are no professional standards or qualifications necessary to practice. Troubleshooting the resulting systems is more like natural science than engineering, as they are too complex for analysis. Experiment, see how the system behaves, form a hypothesis and test. Experiment again.

As Sashas @5 Ebenezer @6 and Matt @10 observed, it’s a question of wealth and power not of programming or engineering. Mostly tech companies these days are run by finbros, not even techbros. That’s what changed in the 90s. Suddenly there was real money in computer systems, which attracted a bad set of people as money does. Add to that the rise of PCs and computer gaming which produced an overlapping group of mostly white boys. Before the 90s programmers were as likely to be women as men. After that, men in search of power and wealth together with socially dysfunctional gamers, dominated the culture. The effects are as you document here. But I don’t believe it’s a result of computer programmers gone wild.


Michael Cain 10.18.23 at 8:54 pm

Almost 40 years ago now, I was one of the poor systems engineering schmucks walking around Bell Labs speaking to project managers. “It’s a software world,” I told them. “From now on, your projects are going to get in trouble and be horribly late much more often because of software problems than hardware problems.” It’s even more true today. Your new car is run by a million lines of code. Your new TV is run by a million lines of code. Even your new washing machine is a bunch of code running a specialized set of sensors and actuators.

Boeing’s multi-billion-dollar Starliner space capsule failed to reach the proper orbit on its first flight because of a — to be generous — dumb software mistake. The developers started performing a source code review while the capsule was still in orbit, and uncovered a second error that would have crashed the capsule if it had attempted reentry. The latter error was patched on the running system while it was in orbit and the capsule landed fine. An internet acquaintance of mine who had worked at Boeing predicted such problems would be increasingly common. Shortly before he left the company, a very senior manager stood up in a relatively open forum and said, “Boeing is not now, and never will be, a software company.” My acquaintance said he bit his tongue rather than shout out, “Then our sh*t is going to fall out of the sky!”


tonycpsu 10.18.23 at 9:13 pm

Here’s a good three part series on the engineer vs. programmer topic:

Part 1:
Are We Really Engineers?

Part 2: We Are Not Special

Part 3:
What engineering can teach (and learn from) us

The summary at the end of part three for the TL;DR inclined:

First of all, We software engineers are “really” engineers. All the differences people give between software and “real” engineering don’t accurately reflect what “real” engineering looks like. And the biggest difference, licensure, is a political construct, not a technical one. At the same time, there is a difference between the different ways people make software, and it makes sense to think of software developers and software engineers as distinct concepts. But even then, it’s very easy for a software developer to become a software engineer and vice versa.

Second, we are not special. There are some aspects of software engineering that are unique to software, such as the speed of iteration, loose constraints, and the consistency of our material. But software engineering has far more in common with the other forms of engineering than it has differences. The same ideas that engineers use to advance their craft are equally useful in our own domain.

Finally, there is a lot we can both teach and learn. Engineering processes are more sophisticated than ours in ways that we can extract lessons from. Traditional engineers have a stronger sense of professionalism and responsibility than we tend to. In contrast, our culture is much more open and our communities much stronger than what exists in trad engineering. And our developments in version control have the potential to revolutionize traditional engineering.


conchis 10.18.23 at 9:19 pm

@Bob @12. Whew, I thought it was just me!


J-D 10.18.23 at 10:07 pm

Kevin, this is a clearly a very sincere and heartfelt cri de coeur. But I feel that in your distress you have lost the ability to communicate effectively. I struggle to understand exactly what this thread is about beyond “technology,” “STEM,” and “something bad, to do with something called ‘accelerationism.’”

Bob, you are not alone.


Alex SL 10.18.23 at 10:12 pm

To second what others have said, this isn’t about programmers. I know about the fallacy of transferable expertise, but this is about rent-seeking and monopoly-seeking, not about something comparable to engineers becoming creationists because they think they understand biology better than biologists. In other words, Andreesen’s ideology seems motivated more by rational financial and political self-interest than by delusion.

Apart from the special case of blockchain, which is an unholy triple hybrid of pseudoinnovation, libertarian cultishness, and self-organising pyramid scheme, tech innovation of the last two or so decades pretty much all boils down to doing exactly what has always been done (driving taxis, providing hotel accommodation, delivering food, selling books) while monopolising that service into one large company with nominal subcontractors or small entrepreneurs instead of employees so that the monopolist doesn’t have to worry about decent salaries, insurances, safety regulations, and pension plans.

Oh, and there’s an app. That’s the fig leaf that allows people like Andreesen to claim that tech innovation is happening. Otherwise, everybody would immediately figure out that it is just what we had before anti-trust regulation and labour protections were introduced.

Once more, for emphasis: There is very, very little tech innovation.

Sometimes, rarely, a big innovation happens, nearly always supported by massive public investment. The internet was, indeed, a game-changer; just being able to have a virtual/remote meeting instead of having to fly somewhere is a massive deal, as are instant messages to my family on the other side of the planet. Generative AI may yet become similarly transformative, for good or ill, although right now it is still very crapshot, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it runs into diminishing returns and having already harvested all the low-hanging fruit instead of accelerating. Will have to see. But most of what these guys call innovation is merely making people poorer and more miserable by undermining regulations and social arrangements that were introduced so that people would be less poor and less miserable.


hix 10.18.23 at 10:43 pm

If self diagnosis with autism as an excuse to be an asshole to everyone and in particular to women were not a real thing in Silicon Valley used by the particular powerful (looking at you Elon Musk), I would probably write an angry response to a person who remembers.

What I would expect at the particular prestigious Silicon Valley companies are personality disorders, and not just the stereotypical ones. Also, alcoholism, of course. Rarely the original sin, but the one that makes things so much worse. You get a taste of that already back in 1986 in Kundas book about Digital equipment and more extreme in many reports about Ubers transgressions more recently. In general Silicon Valley has been a particular bad place for employees in general and their mental health in particular since decades.


bekabot 10.18.23 at 10:43 pm

@ a person

I was writing out a recipe, as in “take two hen lobsters”. When one concocts a recipe one doesn’t assume that any particular person is after any two particular lobsters or is going to nab them. The whole thing is kind of suppositional and abstract.

(“No, but which teaspoon?” he exclaims in distress after reading ‘add one teaspoon of mustard.’ “I’ve never even seen a teaspoon made of mustard and I sure don’t have one here.”)

On second thought…never mind. It’s a woman thing.


MrMr 10.19.23 at 2:16 pm

It’s wild that this piece labels its rhetorical enemies as operating in a peak discourse space of pure vibes, because, well, that’s how I received the piece itself. The argumentative structure is unclear, the prose is positively purple, and mostly what I got out of it is an overwhelming cultural hostility toward a certain imagined class of people.

One example of a questionable conceptual move is the distinction between programmers as purely syntactic symbol manipulators (bad) as opposed to engineers as in touch with material reality (good). As 11 notes, this characterization is tendentious at best. Both disciplines share an interest in abstract systems that are isomorphic to any number of physical realizations. But the reason they think about those abstracta, the structural equations, the sorting algorithms, etc., because they are realized in concrete physical systems. If you do the formal thinking wrong, you find out when the structure doesn’t stand or the computer spits out the wrong output. That is, they seem very similar in operating at a fascinating intersection between purely abstract thinking and material reality. And when you look past grand generalizations about the two disciplines and just get to the pedestrian reality of organizational work, as per 11, we’re all just typing at computers and the differences become even harder to discern. But this is supposed to be the difference between the good guys and the bad guys!

For my own part, I grew up in the CA Bay Area and many of my friends went into Silicon Valley; because I identify with that background, this genre of left-humanist culture warrior think-piece is a particular bête noire of mine. Such pieces seem generally unaware of the fact that figures like Musk and Thiel are not representative of their workforces, and also unaware of how people in that workforce work, what they accomplish, and the problems that animate them. They seem to know essentially nothing about the subculture they critique, and to not care to know.


KT2 10.19.23 at 10:36 pm

Ed Zitron, one of many we soon will see to out Marc A, gets and attacks to “vibes” of “The Techno-Optimist Manifesto”.
KM: “The content is far too stupid to engage with; it takes 10x the effort to refute bullshit than to produce it.”

To Marc who; “… objects to universal basic income (UBI) by stating it would turn people into “zoo animals to be farmed by the state,” adding “man was not meant to be farmed;”;

… then to Marc,

“Everything Looks Like A Nail

OCT 19, 2023

“Marc Andreessen, a man worth nearly two billion dollars, a man who lives in a $177 million compound in Malibu, a man who has been on the board of Facebook and Hewlett-Packard and who likely hasn’t experienced a struggle in decades, wants you to believe he’s a victim.”

“I’d argue that there is nobody less worthy to comment on the plight of the average person, no commentator more divorced from reality, no venture capitalist less fitting to discuss how society might thrive than the man who turned the tech industry into a growth-at-all-costs casino. Andreessen’s views are so convoluted and contradictory because he wants to dress his selfishness and greed in the trappings of intellectualism, yet continually articulates them with the finesse and gravitas of a 30-year-old incel.

“His language and thinking dovetail effortlessly with the most noxious elements of the manosphere. He objects to universal basic income (UBI) by stating it would turn people into “zoo animals to be farmed by the state,” adding “man was not meant to be farmed; man was meant to be useful, to be productive, to be proud,” a line that could have been cribbed straight from an unreleased Jordan Peterson self-help book. He describes the notion that technology could depress wages or eliminate jobs as a “lie,” despite the vast amount of evidence to the contrary.

“The insinuation is obvious. If you’re struggling, it’s because you’re too lazy, too unproductive, or just haven’t subscribed to his techno-utopian mindset – and you don’t deserve any help. Again, this from a man who owes his entire existence and wealth to government intervention. Socialism for me, but not for thee.

“Every word he writes drips with resentment toward any force that might possibly stop the ascent of the rich white man.”…
(h/t kottke dot org)


KT2 10.20.23 at 1:43 am

So you dont have to….. the redacted version. Hint: most that is remains is markets markets markets…
The Techno-Optimist Manifesto, redacted by Ben Grosser (h/t Today in Tabs) & pluraliisric


hix 10.21.23 at 11:05 am

Adding to my previous post: While I do think places like Silicon Valley, or say investment banks – in many ways not all that different from each other do tend to prefer candidates who are atypical in a way that can be exploited by them and might be in a spectrum that is sufficient to check the criteria for one diagnosis or another (within limits, people still have to function), those extreme cultures are more than capable to turn anyone entering into a rather unhealthy and ugly version of one’s self, no matter what the starting point is.


Regulation is already captured 10.22.23 at 4:04 pm

Collective action to control AI sounds lovely, but regulation is no longer “collective action.” Regulation is a top-down control by some of the most powerful players on the planet. Are you sure you want to give them control over all the information that you can access and everything else that AI will be able to do?

Just because Andressen at all are dangerous doesn’t mean the alternative isn’t even worse.


Barry 10.22.23 at 5:41 pm

@Dave M: “Wow, that manifesto was indeed an impressive clump of stupid. The first quotation on the page shows as well that they have no self-understanding whatsoever: “You live in a deranged age — more deranged than usual, because despite great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing” [Walker Percy]. Well, that’s right: you guys don’t have the slightest clue.”

You added nothing to justify this, and as for ‘deranged age’, note that the US saw a president attempt (badly) a government overthrow to retain office, breaking over 200 years of tradition, and the various institutions of society have either supported it, or have treated it as just another novelty.


Barry 10.22.23 at 5:42 pm

I would agree with others, that what we are seeing a financialization of a technological wave, with the billionaires doing as they’ve always done, believing that they are the true elites who should rule without restrictions (and the ‘liberal’, billionaire-owned mass media going along more often than note).


Alex SL 10.23.23 at 8:51 pm

Regulation is already captured,

What are you even talking about? How would a regulation like “you can’t do this particular thing” or “you can’t use art as training data if the creator hasn’t agreed” give a government control over all information that I can access? What do you even mean with control in this context?

How can control by a government we can vote out be worse than control by a billionaire who we can’t, who has no mandate or democratic legitimacy for his outsized power at all beyond he was lucky to benefit from market failure and/or daddy was already rich?

Do you know what words mean?


Jake Gibson 10.24.23 at 1:15 pm

It seems to me these people have terminal libertarian brain.
1. I can do what I want.
2. You have to do what I tell you.
3. I have no responsibility to anyone other than myself.
4. I am a smarter than everyone else.


Steven Holt 10.25.23 at 3:36 pm

Contrary to popular belief in a large portion of the population, money is a lousy indicator of wisdom.

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