The story about ultra-wealthy Silicon Valley types buying land where they can hunker down raises immediate questions — what the heck do the tech rich have to fear anyway? They are on top of the world with wealth and influence, plus they can afford to buy a house in Palo Alto
As it happens, the tech elites fear public fury over the jobless future they have created with automation and artificial intelligence.
The original long article in the New Yorker
(Doomsday Prep for the Super-Rich
, Jan. 30, 2017) meandered around, but the point boiled down to this:
The fears vary, but many worry that, as artificial intelligence takes away a growing share of jobs, there will be a backlash against Silicon Valley, America’s second-highest concentration of wealth. (Southwestern Connecticut is first.) “I’ve heard this theme from a bunch of people,” Hoffman said. “Is the country going to turn against the wealthy? Is it going to turn against technological innovation? Is it going to turn into civil disorder?”
Below, Tesla cars are assembled in Fremont California by robots. Automotive manufacturing once supplied jobs for millions of Americans, but now the industry is largely automated.Driving jobs currently employ millions of Americans, but self-driving technology is coming on strong.
The tech survivalists are surely aware of the dire predictions of massive jobs loss caused by automation, computerization and artificial intelligence. The Gartner analytical company predicts that one-third of jobs will be performed by robots by 2025
, and that trend goes beyond manufacturing to cognitive tasks like financial analysis and medical diagnostics. A 2013 report from Oxford University researchers
estimated that “nearly half of U.S. jobs are vulnerable to computerization” in less than 20 years. A recent report from the consulting firm McKinsey and Company, found that 59 percent of manufacturing work could be automated
in the next decade.
There’s not a whole lot to be done about the automated future beyond survival prepping, but Washington could at least end immigration, which is being made obsolete
by advanced technology.
Silicon Valley billionaires buy underground bunkers preparing for the apocalypse, The Independent (UK), January 25, 2017Tech entrepreneurs fearful artificial intelligence will displace so many jobs there will be a revolt against those responsibleBillionaires in the world’s tech capital Silicon Valley are reportedly preparing for the apocalypse by buying underground bunkers, guns, ammo and motorcycles.Fearful that artificial intelligence will displace so many jobs that there will be a revolt against those responsible for the technology, the are entrepreneurs readying themselves for doomsday like scenarios.Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of the professional social network, LinkedIn, told The New Yorker that he believes more than 50 per cent of billionaires in the Californian tech hub are preparing for the worst.“I own a couple of motorcycles. I have a bunch of guns and ammo. Food. I figure that, with that, I can hole up in my house for some amount of time,” he said.Others are investing in bunkers and large swathes of land. Antonio García Martínez, a former Facebook product manager, recently purchased five acres on an island in the America’s Pacific Northwest. His island home features generators, solar panels, and weaponry, Business Insider reported.Known as “preppers” because they are actively preparing for emergencies in the future, discussions routinely take place on internet forums about the best equipment and locations to purchase property.“The tech preppers do not necessarily think a collapse is likely,” Yishan Wong, the former CEO of the Reddit website, told the New Yorker.“They consider it a remote event, but one with a very severe downside, so, given how much money they have, spending a fraction of their net worth to hedge against this … is a logical thing to do.”