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Tech Won't Save Us: Silicon Valley and the Coronavirus Crisis

With the necessity of social distancing forcing more and more of our lives to be lived through our screens, technology has begun seeping even deeper into the crevices of our social fabric. With everything from elementary school classes to routine doctor’s visits being mediated by various apps, smart phones, and computers, Silicon Valley is poised to be more profitable—and more powerful as a political force—than ever before.

Tales of Amazon’s record profits, and Bill Gates’s boundless generosity are presented by the media as the silver-linings we can all believe in amidst the endless torrent of pandemic related bad news. And yet signs of the tech related scandals-to-come are already all around us—Elon Musk’s move to re-open his smart-car factories and stories of Zoom’s predatory data hoovering practices being just two among many.

Join authors, activists, and radicals Rob Larson and Nicole Aschoff as they discuss why we should resist swallowing the tech industry’s puff, spin, and outright lies, and whether we use their own platforms against them to build digital socialism.

Rob Larson is a professor of economics at Tacoma Community College and author of Bit Tyrants: The Political Economy of Silicon Valley, and Capitalism vs. Freedom. He writes for Jacobin, In These Times, Current Affairs and Dollars & Sense.

Nicole Aschoff is a writer, editor, and sociologist. She is the author of The Smartphone Society: Technology, Power, and Resistance in the New Gilded Age and The New Prophets of Capital, an editor-at-large at Jacobin magazine, and managing editor of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. Her writing has appeared in the Guardian, the Nation, Dissent, and Al Jazeera, among many other places, and she contributes regularly to podcasts and radio shows.

For further reading on this topic check out Haymarket Books' Economics for the 99% Reading List.

  • Bit Tyrants

    For all their famed disruption of the economy, Big Tech's secret sauce turns out to be Capitalism's standard issue blend of exploitation and corporate maleficence.

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