How Silicon Valley Follows the Money | Pepe Escobar |

Pepe ESCOBAR | 01.09.2016 | OPINION

There’s way more in common between Wall Street and Silicon Valley than meets the untrained eye

There’s way more in common between Wall Street and Silicon Valley than meets the untrained eye

Wall Street and Silicon Valley are two of the key strategic hubs of hyperpower global domination. The others are the industrial-military-surveillance-security complex – of which Hollywood and corporate media are the soft power extensions – and the petrodollar racket/tributary system.

Silicon Valley has been relentlessly constructed and idolized as a benign myth; technology breaking the ultimate frontiers and reaching Utopia At Last. Not really. A joyride of a book – Chaos Monkeys: Inside the Silicon Valley Money Machine, by Antonio Garcia Martinez – argues it’s all about, what else, money. As in cold, hard cash, stock options and, just like in Wall Street, bonuses.

Martinez tells it like an American Dream insider. He’s a son of Cuban exiles, born in Southern California, with an almost PhD in Physics at Stanford, and a detour across Goldman Sachs that taught him how the casino system works. Then, back in California, he built a start-up with two friends whose embryonic product was a code-grounded method to target and boost electronic advertising. Secret revealed; electronic ads happen to be the real Holy Grail of the much lauded IT Revolution.

Academic Michael Brenner defined Chaos Monkeys as Divine Comedy as anthropology. Not quite. We’re not in the presence of Virgil guiding Dante here, more like a Benzedrine-boosted neo-Kerouac let loose on the (techno) road.

Right on page 25 Martinez captures Silicon Valley’s business logic, something that I learned myself three decades ago when I was crisscrossing the Valley – with a later stint on MIT – doing a special report on the Brave New Digital World ahead. At the time, I heard from the late great Marvin Minsky that the future would be a cross between artificial intelligence (AI) and genetic engineering. We are almost there. Martinez notes that in the future, it’s all about «computers talking to one another, with humans involved only in the writing of the logic itself».

Wall Street, of course, saw it before anyone else. Then came transportation (Uber), the hotel business (Airbnb), food delivery (Instacart), a massive array of services. We are smack on the road towards humans merely filling the gaps in a sanitized, non-stop computer workflow.

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