The end of the Silicon Valley myth

By | December 29, 2022

Brian Merchant writes:

The dramatic, multidimensional implosion of Meta; the nuclear train wreck of Elon Musk’s Twitter; the momentous labor uprising against Amazon—it wasn’t just an unusually disastrous year for America’s biggest tech companies. It was a reckoning.

The tech giants that have shaped our lives, online and off, over the course of the 21st century have at last hit a wall. Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft, Meta, and Apple all saw their valuations fall, sometimes precipitously. Many slashed their workforces; at least 120,000 tech workers lost their jobs this year. The myth of the genius founder, which insulated so many of these giants from so much criticism for so long, was debunked before our eyes.

These companies, launched with promises to connect the world, to think different, to make information free to all, to democratize technology, have spent much of the past decade making the sorts of moves that large corporations trying to grow ever larger have historically made—embracing profit over safety, market expansion over product integrity, and rent seeking over innovation—but at much greater scale, speed, and impact. Now, ruled by monopolies, marred by toxicity, and over-reliant on precarious labor, Silicon Valley looks like it’s finally run hard up into its limits. [Continue reading…]

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