PODCAST

Tech Won't Save Us

Paris Marx

Silicon Valley has a solution for everything, but who do its ideas really serve? Every Thursday, Paris Marx is joined by a new guest to critically examine the tech industry, its thought leaders, and the worldview it spreads. They challenge the notion that tech alone can drive our world forward by showing that separating tech from politics has consequences for us all, especially the most vulnerable. But if tech won't save us, what will? This podcast isn't simply about tearing tech down; it also presents radical ideas for tech designed for human flourishing instead of surveillance, acquisitions, or to boost stock prices. A better world is possible, and so is better technology.

The Dangerous Ideology of the Tech Elite w/ Phil Torres
Yesterday
55 mins
(Un)Stablecoins and the Crypto Crash w/ Bennett Tomlin
Paris Marx is joined by Bennett Tomlin to discuss last week’s crash of Terra and Luna, the problems with stablecoins, and whether this collapse will finally force regulators to take action on cryptocurrency.Bennett Tomlin is a co-host of Crypto Critics’ Corner and writer of the FUD Letter. Follow Bennett on Twitter at @BennettTomlin.Tech Won’t Save Us offers a critical perspective on tech, its worldview, and wider society with the goal of inspiring people to demand better tech and a better world. Follow the podcast (@techwontsaveus) and host Paris Marx (@parismarx) on Twitter, support the show on Patreon, and sign up for the weekly newsletter.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:Paris wrote about the Terra/Luna collapse and why we can’t let those who promoted crypto scams escape blame for their actions.Bennett references George Soros’ attack on the British pound in 1992, also known as Black Wednesday.Do Kwan was behind the failed Basis Cash stablecoin.Vitalik Buterin backed a proposal for an FDIC-like response to rescue “small holders” who lost money in the Luna collapse.Investors recently pulled $7 billion out of Tether, which still won’t be open about its reserves. It was hacked in 2017.FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried described yield farming as a Ponzi scheme.Justin Sun has already launched a copycat of the failed Terra algorithmic stablecoin. The Verge did a deep dive on him in March.a16z says the crypto winter is here.Support the show
May 19 2022
55 mins
The Argument for Half-Earth Socialism w/ Drew Pendergrass & Troy Vettese
Paris Marx is joined by Drew Pendergrass and Troy Vettese to discuss the environmental crises of climate change and mass extinction we face, and why taking them seriously while providing for everyone requires a radical change to how we structure society.Drew Pendergrass is a PhD candidate in environmental engineering at Harvard University and Troy Vettese is an environmental historian and a Max Weber fellow at the European University Institute. They are the co-authors of Half-Earth Socialism: A Plan to Save the Future from Extinction, Climate Change and Pandemics. Follow them on Twitter at @pendergrassdrew and @TroyVettese.Tech Won’t Save Us offers a critical perspective on tech, its worldview, and wider society with the goal of inspiring people to demand better tech and a better world. Follow the podcast (@techwontsaveus) and host Paris Marx (@parismarx) on Twitter, support the show on Patreon, and sign up for the weekly newsletter.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:Earth is currently undergoing its sixth major extinction, due to the actions of humans on the planet.The most recent IPCC report looked at demand-side solutions to the climate crisis.The meat industry is responsible for double the emissions of plant-based foods, as well as for an enormous amount of water and 80% of all agricultural land.Aaron Benanav is the author of Automation and the Future of Work.There is also a Half-Earth Socialism videogame on half.earth.Support the show
May 12 2022
58 mins
How IBM Workers Took On Racism and Apartheid w/ ann haeyoungThe Financialization of Everything w/ Edward Ongweso Jr.We Can’t Allow Tech Solutions to Delay Climate Action w/ Molly Taft
Paris Marx is joined by Molly Taft to discuss why we need to act now to reduce emissions, what role carbon removal technologies can play, and how Silicon Valley is trying to shift our focus to future technologies rather than taking drastic action today.Molly Taft is a staff writer at Earther. Follow Molly on Twitter at @mollytaft.🎉 This month is the show’s second birthday. To celebrate, we want to get 100 new supporters at $5/month or above to bring on a producer to help make the show.  Help us hit our goal by joining on Patreon. You can also follow the podcast (@techwontsaveus) and host Paris Marx (@parismarx) on Twitter.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:Molly wrote about the dire warnings in the most recent IPCC report and why we need to be paying attention to carbon removal technologies.UN Secretary-General António Guterres said, “Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals.  But, the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels.”Groups are urging the United States and European Union not to invest in new fossil fuel infrastructure and production.Canada approved Bay du Nord, a new deep-sea oil project in Newfoundland and Labrador.Major tech companies, especially Amazon, have been helping oil companies extract more oil. Microsoft has also been helping them oppressively manage their workforces.Kate Aronoff explained part of the problem with Bill Gates’ approach to climate change.Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)
Apr 21 2022
58 mins
Who’s to Blame When a Self-Driving Car Kills Someone? w/ Lauren SmileyHow to Unionize Amazon w/ Justine Medina & Karen Ponce
Paris Marx is joined by Justine Medina and Karen Ponce to discuss how the Amazon Labor Union succeeded in unionizing Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island, what it’s like working for Amazon, and where the movement to unionize Amazon goes next.Justine Medina is a packer at the JFK8 warehouse and is on the organizing committee of the Amazon Labor Union. Karen Ponce is a stower at JFK8 and the interim secretary of Amazon Labor Union. Follow Justine on Twitter at @jnmedina8989 and Karen at @Karennn_928.🎉 This month is the show’s second birthday. To celebrate, we want to get 100 new supporters at $5/month or above to bring on a producer to help make the show.  Help us hit our goal by joining on Patreon. You can also follow the podcast (@techwontsaveus) and host Paris Marx (@parismarx) on Twitter.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:You can support the Amazon Labor Union by donating to its Solidarity Fund.Justine spoke to Labor Notes and wrote about why the ALU won.The ALU is making 8 immediate demands of Amazon.Chair of the ALU’s Worker Committee Angelika Maldonado spoke to Jacobin about the union win.Lauren Kaori Gurley wrote about the Amazon Labor Union’s successful union vote at JFK8.In early 2020, Amazon fired Chris Smalls and tried to smear him as “not smart or articulate,” but their internal memos leaked.Jacobin and Briarpatch published articles on the need to salt at Amazon.Chris Smalls says workers from 50 facilities have contacted the ALU.The ALU is demanding to meet with Amazon in early May to begin bargaining.Amazon is planning to ban a ton of words in its chat app.Amazon forcing people to work in warehouses without air conditioning was a scandal in 2011.Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)
Apr 7 2022
51 mins
Web3 is Not Going Great w/ Molly WhiteDigital Tech Didn’t Democratize the Film Industry w/ Will TavlinCan Higher Interest Rates Tame Big Tech And Inflation? w/ Grace Blakeley
Paris Marx is joined by Grace Blakeley to discuss how low interest rates and quantitative easing fueled the tech economy’s post-recession growth, why raising them won’t fix the problems that’s created, and whether higher interest rates are the solution to rising inflation.Grace Blakeley is a staff writer at Tribune Magazine and host of A World to Win. She’s also the author of Stolen: How to Save the World from Financialisation and The Corona Crash: How the Pandemic Will Change Capitalism. Follow Grace on Twitter at @graceblakeley.Tech Won’t Save Us offers a critical perspective on tech, its worldview, and wider society with the goal of inspiring people to demand better tech and a better world. Follow the podcast (@techwontsaveus) and host Paris Marx (@parismarx) on Twitter, support the show on Patreon, and sign up for the weekly newsletter.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:Grace wrote about how interest rate hikes are used against workers, what we should learn from the Gamestop short squeeze, and how the pandemic has produced closer links between the state and major corporations.Benjamin Braun and Adrienne Buller explained the concept of asset manager capitalism.In the face of rising inflation, NFT values are down 48% since November.High energy prices tend to drive inflation, and Russia and Ukraine are major wheat exporters.In the UK, wages are falling at the fastest rate since 2014. In the US, wages are falling when accounting for inflation, after decades of wage stagnation.Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)
Mar 17 2022
58 mins
How Peter Thiel Wields His Power in Silicon Valley w/ Moira Weigel
Mar 10 2022
1 hr 2 mins
War in the Content Economy w/ Ryan Broderick & Hussein Kesvani
Paris Marx is joined by Ryan Broderick and Hussein Kesvani to discuss how war gets filtered through social media and the content economy, and what that means for how we make sense of it.Ryan Broderick writes the Garbage Day newsletter and hosts Content Mines. Hussein Kesvani is a writer and the co-host of Trashfuture and Ten Thousand Posts. Follow Ryan on Twitter at @broderick and Hussein at @HKesvani.Tech Won’t Save Us offers a critical perspective on tech, its worldview, and wider society with the goal of inspiring people to demand better tech and a better world. Follow the podcast (@techwontsaveus) and host Paris Marx (@parismarx) on Twitter, support the show on Patreon, and sign up for the weekly newsletter.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:Ryan has written two issues of Garbage Day trying to make sense of what’s happening in the war.Hussein wrote a very good tweet.Sam Biddle wrote about how Facebook is allowing users to praise the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion.Taylor Lorenz wrote about Instagram meme pages capitalizing on the conflict.Journalists have been saying some pretty racist things about why the war in Ukraine is different than those in the Middle East.Chris Stokel-Walker wrote about how TikTok is designed for war.Jonah Peretti wrote an article called “Capitalism and Schizophrenia.”NBC’s Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel wondered aloud on Twitter whether NATO should start World War III.Hillary Clinton neglected the consequences of the US arming Afghan “insurgents” against the Soviet Union in the 1980s.The media isn’t applying the right level of scrutiny to Ukrainian war stories, like Snake Island.Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could have consequences for semiconductors.Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)
Mar 3 2022
1 hr 5 mins
Can Tesla Survive Elon Musk? w/ Edward Niedermeyer
Paris Marx is joined by Edward Niedermeyer to discuss how Elon Musk got involved in Tesla, promised things he couldn’t deliver to raise funds, and where it goes next now that he’s becoming a more controversial figure.Edward Niedermeyer is the author of Ludicrous: The Unvarnished Story of Tesla Motors and a co-host of The Autonocast. Follow Ed on Twitter at @Tweetermeyer.Tech Won’t Save Us offers a critical perspective on tech, its worldview, and wider society with the goal of inspiring people to demand better tech and a better world. Follow the podcast (@techwontsaveus) and host Paris Marx (@parismarx) on Twitter, support the show on Patreon, and sign up for the weekly newsletter.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:California is suing Tesla over “rampant racism” at its Fremont factory, with another Black worker suing the company earlier this week.Tesla vehicles are continually found to have very poor build quality, and customers report the service experience can be frustrating too.Tesla allowed people to play games on vehicle touchscreens while driving in December 2021 before being pushed to remove the feature.Tesla tried to automate parts of the production process that other companies had already tried to automate — and it failed too.The number of people being killed by cars in the United States is increasing — particularly among pedestrians.US auto safety regulators haven’t kept up with changes in vehicle dangers.The New Yorker reported on the problems in the early years of Google’s self-driving project.Last year a customer in China protested at the Shanghai auto show over her Tesla’s brake failure, forcing regulators to take a closer look at the company.Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)
Feb 24 2022
57 mins
Cringe Raps and $5 Billion in Stolen Bitcoin w/ Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai
Paris Marx is joined by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai to discuss the arrest of Ilya Lichtenstein and Heather Morgan for trying to launder the $5 billion in Bitcoin stolen in the 2016 Bitfinex hack, how they were moving the money, how the authorities found them, and what lessons the case might hold.Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai is senior staff writer at Motherboard. Follow Lorenzo on Twitter at @lorenzofb.Tech Won’t Save Us offers a critical perspective on tech, its worldview, and wider society with the goal of inspiring people to demand better tech and a better world. Follow the podcast (@techwontsaveus) and host Paris Marx (@parismarx) on Twitter, support the show on Patreon, and sign up for the weekly newsletter.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:Lorenzo wrote about the arrest of the couple and Heather Morgan’s cringe raps as Razzlekhan. Along with Motherboard colleagues, he also dug deep into the couple’s history and online presence.The Bitcoin they held and tried to launder came from the 2016 hack of Bitfinex.People who knew Morgan told the New York Times her social media presence was “part of an elaborate act to confront social pressures.”In 2014, Mt. Gox was hacked and shut down. It was an exchange handling 70% of Bitcoin transactions.Criminals laundered $8.6 billion in cryptocurrency in 2021, up 30% from the year before.AlphaBay was a darkweb crypto marketplace that was seized by authorities in 2017.On Feb 14, Heather Morgan was released on bail, but Ilya Lichtenstein remained in detention.Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)
Feb 17 2022
45 mins
The Poorly Paid Workers Powering Automation w/ Phil JonesCrypto Winter Is Coming w/ Jacob Silverman
As the podcast celebrates episode 100, Paris Marx is joined by Jacob Silverman to discuss the huge drop in crypto prices, the coming threat (to crypto) of interest rate hikes and regulation, the human impact of crypto schemes, and where things may be going next.Jacob Silverman is a staff writer at The New Republic and writes about crypto with the actor Ben McKenzie. Follow Jacob on Twitter at @SilvermanJacob.Tech Won’t Save Us offers a critical perspective on tech, its worldview, and wider society with the goal of inspiring people to demand better tech and a better world. Follow the podcast (@techwontsaveus) and host Paris Marx (@parismarx) on Twitter, support the show on Patreon, and sign up for the weekly newsletter.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:Jacob and Ben McKenzie wrote about Tether. Zeke Faux also wrote an essential article on the stablecoin, and Jacob recommends Crypto Critics Corner.Crypto prices have plunged, and that’s hurt regular people.New York’s Attorney General reached a settlement with Tether last year.VC firm Andreessen Horowitz is making a big lobbying push in Washington, DC to get favorable crypto regulations.Matt Damon and Spike Lee are among the celebrities to take crypto money and help pump the industry.US regulators are looking at crypto regulations, and Biden administration is planning an executive order to move it forward.China banned crypto mining, Russia proposed a ban on crypto, and many countries have suffered power outages due to crypto mining.Stephen Diehl wrote explained how crypto is about arbitraging securities regulation.Diane Jeantet wrote about a massive series of Bitcoin pyramid schemes in Brazil.Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)
Feb 3 2022
1 hr 8 mins
Microsoft Wants to Dominate the Games Industry w/ Rob Zacny
Paris Marx is joined by Rob Zacny to discuss the potential consequences of Xbox’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, and what subscriptions and consolidation might mean for the future of games and the industry.Rob Zacny is a senior editor at Waypoint and co-host of Waypoint Radio. Follow Rob on Twitter at @RobZacny.Tech Won’t Save Us offers a critical perspective on tech, its worldview, and wider society with the goal of inspiring people to demand better tech and a better world. Follow the podcast (@techwontsaveus) and host Paris Marx (@parismarx) on Twitter, support the show on Patreon, and sign up for the weekly newsletter.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:Rob discussed the consequences of the proposed acquisition with his colleague Patrick Klepek.Microsoft plans to buy Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion.In November, Phil Spencer said he was troubled by the harassment and abuse at Activision Blizzard.QA workers at Activision’s Raven Software are seeking to unionize. The company said it won’t recognize the union, and is reorganizing the division.A new Game Developers Conference found 55% think the industry should unionize.On January 18, the US Federal Trade Commission began a process to rewrite its merger guidelines.Google shut down its Stadia game studios at least in part due to Microsoft’s acquisition of Zenimax.At GDC in 2005, a developer rant session featuring Warren Spector, Jason Della Rocca, Greg Costikyan, Brenda Laurel, and Chris Hecke presented a grim picture of where the industry was going.Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)
Jan 27 2022
54 mins
How Evangelicals Emulate Startup Culture w/ Corrina Laughlin
Jan 20 2022
48 mins
Envisioning Platform Socialism w/ James Muldoon
Paris Marx is joined by James Muldoon to discuss his vision for platform socialism and the different ways we could reorganize platforms to serve the public good over corporate profit.James Muldoon is the author of Platform Socialism: How to Reclaim our Digital Future from Big Tech. He’s also a senior lecturer at the University of Exeter and the Head of Digital Research at Autonomy. Follow James on Twitter at @james_muldoon_.Tech Won’t Save Us offers a critical perspective on tech, its worldview, and wider society with the goal of inspiring people to demand better tech and a better world. Follow the podcast (@techwontsaveus) and host Paris Marx (@parismarx) on Twitter, support the show on Patreon, and sign up for the weekly newsletter.Find out more about Harbinger Media Network at harbingermedianetwork.com.Also mentioned in this episode:James wrote about why web3 won’t save the internet.Paris wrote about what’s wrong with discourses about decentralization and why we should nationalize Amazon.Francesca Bria was interviewed by Crypto Syllabus about web3, decentralization, and her experience with municipal tech projects.Facebook’s Project Amplify ensured users saw positive stories about the company.Antonio Negri and Dalla Costa were among the Italian Autonomist Marxists thinking about the social factory. Karl Marx wrote about the concept of surplus value.G.D.H. Cole wrote about guild socialism. James also mentions the work of Otto Neurath.Support the show (https://patreon.com/techwontsaveus)
Jan 13 2022
54 mins