"In the 1990s, Silicon Valley promised a global virtual community that would level hierarchies and empower individuals. How did that ideal morph into a habit-forming outrage machine that spies on us?"


What Silicon Valley builds has been controlled mainly by capitalists looking for profitable ventures, and "a habit-forming outrage machine that spies on us" was the profitable thing to build. The funders of Silicon Valley were never serious about the ideal of the net as a global public square. For them it was just marketing spin, stolen from the hackers who were serious about that ideal, and still are.

@strypey Would you say Bill Gates trying to enforce copyright on his software was the first major instance of it?

@nilesh That was a milestone, for sure. But where did Gates get the idea for that from back in 1976? I suspect Ma Bell and IBM, and before them, the US railroad monopolies, and the Dutch and British East India Companies (see Douglas Rushkoff's book 'Life Inc.'). If I'm right, the roots of the toxic dynamic people refer to as "Silicon Valley" are much older than personal computers and the internet. They go as far back as the history of the corporation itself.

@strypey I think it's just a consequence of _unchecked_ capitalism. Capitalism is a machine and business which have negative externalities, have higher profit margins.

Govt intervention is a popular solution, but I feel consumers showing strong preference for ethical products would have made a difference. The hackers have failed to educate the masses on freedoms, privacy, security, right to repair etc.

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