Bryan Appleyard asks Google’s Eric Schmidt some questions, and doesn’t like the sound of the answers. They raise some uncomfortable questions about Silicon Valley’s attitude towards law, privacy, the “excremental novelist and infantile philosopher Ayn Rand“, and the quasi-religious belief in The Singularity.
The Singularity, Ayn Rand, the elitism, the moral pretensions and the dreams of island states are all sending the same message – that Silicon Valley is a small, highly intelligent, obsessive, hubristic and deluded community. Its values are not ours. We should, of course, embrace its ingenuity and the gadgets it showers upon us, but we should be wary of the ‘terms and conditions’ attached. These include not just the inane legalisms that come with the software, but also the ideology, the rhetoric, the world-dominating fantasies and, of course, the tax avoidance.
Google is just another company with just another bottom line. We should take note of it but we should not demean ourselves by ushering it into our centres of democratic power and we should certainly not succumb to its delusions. We should merely, if the occasion arises, scrounge an invite to Loulou’s and have a good laugh.
Which all seems to suggest Google’s attitude towards tax-dodging is just the tip of the iceberg. As one commenter points out, not everyone in Silicon Valley shares these crackpot beliefs.It’s also true that the sociopathic values of Ayn Rand are commonplace amongst the elites. But it ought to make is question whether these are the sorts of people we want to trust with out future.