The Epstein scandal at MIT shows the moral bankruptcy of techno-elites | Opinion | The Guardian


23 bookmarks. First posted by yauhenio 10 days ago.


Evgeny Morozov:
<p>There was no better original exponent of the “third culture” than Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of the MIT Media Lab and a new kind of applied intellectual, full of big ideas on technical subjects. The lab was ahead of its time in understanding that the industry and the government alike needed cooler, more interactive technology that was not provided by the traditional cold war contractors.

Everything else followed suit. Thus, Negroponte became a speaker at the very first Technology, Entertainment, Design conference (the famous Ted Talks) in 1984, which, a few decades later, emerged as the pre-eminent promoter of the “third culture”: no politics, no conflict, no ideology – just science, technology, and pragmatic problem-solving. Ideas as a service, neatly packaged in 18-minute intellectual snacks.

“Third culture” was a perfect shield for pursuing entrepreneurial activities under the banner of intellectualism. Infinite networking with billionaires but also models and Hollywood stars; instant funding by philanthropists and venture capitalists moving in the same circles; bestselling books tied to soaring speaking fees used as promotional materials for the author’s more substantial commercial activities, often run out of academia.

That someone like Jeffrey Epstein would take advantage of these networks to whitewash his crimes was almost inevitable. In a world where books function as brand extensions and are never actually read, it’s quite easy for a rich and glamorous charlatan of Epstein’s stature to fit in.

One of Brockman’s persistent laments was that all the billionaire techies in his circle barely read any of the books published by his clients. Not surprisingly, his famed literary dinners – held during the Ted Conference, they allowed Epstein (who kept Brockman’s Edge Foundation on a retainer) to mingle with scientists and fellow billionaires – were mostly empty of serious content.

As Brockman himself put it after one such dinner in 2004, “last year we tried ‘The Science Dinner’. Everyone yawned. So this year, it’s back to the money-sex-power thing with ‘The Billionaires’ Dinner’.”</p>


All is ruination. This isn't quite a comeuppance for Negroponte, but it further devalues his legacy.
culture  corruption  ito  negroponte 
8 days ago by charlesarthur
Glad that wrote this… and curious to hear from colleagues
from twitter
9 days ago by redasadki
close the Media Lab, disband the Ted Talks, refuse the money of tech billionaires, boycott agents like Brockman. Without such drastic changes, the powerful bullshit-industrial complex that is the “third culture” will continue unharmed, giving cover to the next Epstein.
techculture 
9 days ago by zryb
The Epstein scandal at MIT shows the moral bankruptcy of techno-elites | Opinion | The Guardian
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9 days ago by cierniak
RT : My latest: What the Epstein case tells us about the moral bankruptcy of our techno-elites
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9 days ago by artlung
Lo scandalo di Epstein, che avrebbe dirottato fino a 8 milioni di dollari (alcuni dei quali, a quanto pare, per conto di Bill Gates) al MIT Media Lab, mentre i suoi dirigenti erano pienamente consapevoli della sua problematica formazione ha già portato alle dimissioni del direttore del laboratorio, Joi Ito.
freedom  idw  top 
9 days ago by mgpf
RT : My latest: What the Epstein case tells us about the moral bankruptcy of our techno-elites
from twitter
9 days ago by Fallingbadgers
Important challenging piece by
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9 days ago by Preoccupations
As the world wakes up to the power of Big Tech, we get to hear – belatedly – of all the damage wrought by the digital giants. Most of these debates, alas, don’t veer too far from the policy-oriented realms of economics or law. via Pocket
IFTTT  Pocket 
9 days ago by schmitz
It’s not uncommon for intellectuals to serve as useful idiots to the rich and the powerful, but, under the <a href="https://www.edge.org/conversation/john_brockman-the-third-culture">“third culture”</a>, this reads like a job requirement […] And yet, while it’s easy to attack the rotten apples such as Ito or Negroponte, a more radical transformative agenda should ask for more: close the Media Lab, disband the Ted Talks, refuse the money of tech billionaires, boycott agents like Brockman.
technology 
9 days ago by carlesbellver
RT : Evgeny Morozov: The Epstein scandal at MIT shows the moral bankruptcy of techno elites.
from twitter
9 days ago by brunoboutot
“Bullshit industrial complex” is a useful phrase
from twitter_favs
9 days ago by ali.alkhatib
As the world wakes up to the power of Big Tech, we get to hear – belatedly – of all the damage wrought by the digital giants. Most of these debates, alas, don’t veer too far from the policy-oriented realms of economics or law. via Pocket
to_share 
9 days ago by puzzlement
Evgeny Morozov more coherent than usual
scandal  mit  culture  technoelite  joi  joiito  negroponte  brockman  epstein 
9 days ago by nelson
My latest: What the Epstein case tells us about the moral bankruptcy of our techno-elites
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10 days ago by audrey
My latest: What the Epstein case tells us about the moral bankruptcy of our techno-elites
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10 days ago by yauhenio