How Silicon Valley Follows the Money

Academic Michael Brenner defined Chaos Monkeys as Divine Comedy as anthropology. Not quite. We’re not in the presence of Virgil guiding Dante here, more like a Benzedrine-boosted neo-Kerouac let loose on the (techno) road.

Right on page 25 Martinez captures Silicon Valley’s business logic, something that I learned myself three decades ago when I was crisscrossing the Valley – with a later stint on MIT – doing a special report on the Brave New Digital World ahead. At the time, I heard from the late great Marvin Minsky that the future would be a cross between artificial intelligence (AI) and genetic engineering. We are almost there. Martinez notes that in the future, it’s all about «computers talking to one another, with humans involved only in the writing of the logic itself».

Wall Street, of course, saw it before anyone else. Then came transportation (Uber), the hotel business (Airbnb), food delivery (Instacart), a massive array of services. We are smack on the road towards humans merely filling the gaps in a sanitized, non-stop computer workflow.

The world all that fabulous concentration of engineers, code writers, product managers, venture capitalists, key word filters, metadata and algorithms Silicon Valley is shaping is for all practical purposes a Consumer Holy Grail. We are all «free», but essentially free as extremely, precisely defined targets with a ton of features and preferences supplied to the digital workflow every time we click for a post, a comment, a search. Then, in a few minutes of digital life, we will be hit by a pop-up offer to buy something, anything.

Martinez also concisely explains the basics of search engine marketing. Marketers curate keyword lists «like a bonsai tree»; «If the revenue generated by postclick sales outpaces cost, up go the bid and the budget». This in a nutshell is how «Google makes more than some European countries produce in a year».

Monetize those bits, baby

What is a chaos monkey, really? That’s a software tool created and open-sourced by Netflix. One uses it to test a website’s resiliency against that proverbial nightmare; a server failure.

Read More Here: How Silicon Valley Follows the Money

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