Watch out for Silicon Valley bros who crave a dystopian future
A minority of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors read dystopian science fiction and think, "great idea!"
Some people actually want to live in a dark, dystopian future.
Elon Musk tweeted this week that, instead of worrying about overpopulation, "we should be much more worried about population collapse." Musk fears that Earth won’t produce enough people for him to send to Mars.
Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor Sahil Lavingia replied that "We should be investing in technology that makes having kids much faster/easier/cheaper/more accessible. Synthetic wombs, etc."
Then, bitcoin bro and Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin chimed in by saying that "disparities in economic success between men and women are far larger once marriage+children enter the picture. Synthetic wombs would remove the high burden of pregnancy, significantly reducing the inequality."
Don't you see? Pregnancy and birth is an engineering problem for Silicon Valley to solve, patent and profit from. Because gender equality!
When "Brave New World" or "The Matrix" depict a dystopian future where babies are "grown" in artificial wombs and then "decanted" or "harvested," it was meant to be a warning, not a business plan.
Silicon Valley investors are obsessed with "disruption." In this case, they’d like to disrupt the connection between women and the miracle of birth, freeing up those women to take their place as fully participating cogs in the industrial economy. You can't patent maternity leave or pay equality, so clearly the solution is to outsource pregnancy to a machine.
The next logical step is: Why not make life itself "faster/easier/cheaper/more accessible" by skipping birth and just keeping people in the machines. They can live 100% of their lives in Mark Zuckerberg's "Metaverse."
Aaaaand now we all live in The Matrix.
What kind of person would actually want this, and say so out loud?
Mike’s List of Brilliantly Bad Ideas
1. TikTok company’s new venture fails the smell test
ByteDance, the maker of TikTok, has launched a line of cheap perfume. Their EMOTIF line has specific brand names that sound like songs on a dubstep album: "Electronic Lover," "Deep Sea Flight," and "Pompidou Only Drinks Champagne." Prices range from around $4 to around $31. Now you can smell like TikTok.
2. This product sounds like baloney, but it’s not
Speaking of unanticipated entries into the beauty market, the Kraft Heinz Company is selling a hydrating face mask inspired by Oscar Mayer bologna. Made in partnership with the Korean skincare company Seoul Mamas, the product inspires puns — some of which are part of the Amazon.com marketing: "Treat yo’self. Meat yo’self" and "You can’t spell delightful without deli."
3. IKEA to sell sofa set that looks like bread
And speaking of unanticipated entry into the stuff-that-looks-like-food-but-isn’t market, IKEA plans to sell this bread-roll sofa set designed by Gab Bois and modeled here and popularized by Estonian rapper Tommy Cash. It’s called the “Loafa,” of course.
4. You can buy a house with four toilets in the bathroom
Impressive, but I don’t really see how this works out in practice. Don’t people generally prefer privacy when they’re sitting on one of these?
5. Now you can plug four computers into half a monitor
A startup called Lukos is crowdfunding a 4k monitor with all the width and none of the height of a regular monitor. With an aspect ratio of 32:9, the monitor is actually kind of perfect for a coach seat on an airline when the person in front of you leans their seat back. It’s also got built-in speakers. You can plug in up to four devices and use the monitor's split-screen function to show different systems on the same display at the same time. All the connected cables plugged into the top and a loud fan on the back never let you forget that it wasn’t made by Apple.
Mike’s List of Shameless Self Promotions
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