EP67: Darts Transit Commission (ft. Paris Marx)

We have been talking a lot lately about the idea of techno-utopian thinking, but we’re coming to a somewhat surprising conclusion: there isn’t as much of it as there used to be. Our Silicon Valley tech bros have quite a curtailed vision. If they do have a utopia, it is a utopia of sustaining the unsustainable.

We speak to Paris Marx of Tech Won’t Save Us on the shifting politics of Silicon Valley. We’ll traverse the intellectual history of hippies-turned-arch-capitalists, and focus especially on their ideas for transportation policy. Do they have a radical vision for a different transportation future, or is it a vision of maintain the status quo? Marx is author of the book Road to Nowhere: What Silicon Valley Gets Wrong about the Future of Transportation, out now from Verso Books.

This is part of a wider series on techno-utopian thinking, produced with professors Tanner Mirrlees and Imre Szemen. For a full list of credits, contact information, and more, visit our about page.

Theme: Tech-Bro Philosophers

Today, our leading public intellectuals aren’t people like John Dewey, Emma Goldman, Bertrand Russell, Rosa Luxemburg, or Stuart Hall. They’re more like: Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Gary Vee, Curtis Yarvin, and the like. We have techbro philosopher kings, and their millions of fans wait on bated breath for their infinite wisdom.

Their politics is kind of an anti-politics. It’s a politics of  technological solutionism, technological determinism, and technological utopia (or dystopia, depending on who you ask). On this series, we examine the thoughts of our new ‘thought leaders,’ and tell stories of technological utopias past, present, and future.

This series of episodes received funding from the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada. The scholarly leads are Professors Tanner Mirrlees  at Ontario Tech University and Imre Szeman at the University of Toronto Scarborough. They both provided research and editorial guidance to these episodes.