What metaverse, web3, and artificial intelligence evangelists collectively ignore.
Really, really good summary of the current state of Technology Today. Money changes everything, and Money changed Tech. In addition to chasing that first rush of being a scrappy underdog changing the world in your garage, the whole VC ecosystem that grew and enveloped Tech puts enormous financial and social pressure on finding the next indispensable good/service that society can't live without. All 3 Big Ideas check the necessary boxes (though Web 3.0 is nothing more than a solution in search of a problem, A.I. and the Metaverse have the potential to Change Everything if you squint hard enough and keep your promises vague).
And clearly, Silicon Valley considers the Somebody Else of S.E.P. to be The Government. More than a little ironic, given the libertarian bent of these Masters of the Universe. But then again, privatize the profit, socialize the cost is a core tenent of capitalism as we know it, and boy do these guys love capitalism as we know it. Look how it works for them.
This is great. I've been thinking only about the metaverse future in a similar vein for a while--about why virtuality retains its centrality as a trope of futurism despite not only never quite arriving but almost intrinsically, ontologically, never possibly being what futurism thinks it is.
Why are we thinking about AI as a singular servant to humanity-- when they might be more like Seed Vaults-- the last archives containing the creative/scientific work of our era. Technologists who got more interested in maintenance and care during the 2.0 era are thinking about this stuff much more carefully and would be nice if some of the 3.0s listened to them.
What if the future is both climate change adaptation *and* AGI? I'm writing an article about this divergence, where instead of technological and energy resources ascending in tandem, they are now going to diverge, and it's going to get weird. Navigating these twin challenges may be the story of the next few decades. You're so right that Silicon Valley (generally speaking) isn't fully engaging with the climate crisis yet. Probably because working on that problem is less profitable for now than working on ad-tech and machine learning....
Does anyone else remember the Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch? It was one Philip K Dick's books which featured Earth dying a heat death, citizens being drafted to colonize a shithole on Elon Musk's home planet, Mars, and a thriving market in building "mins", miniature objects for use in a drug enabled virtual reality. This was a thing with John Brunner too. He imagined an overpopulated planet, dramatic climate change and societal collapse. I guess that was the 70s.