Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper Professor of American History and Affiliate Professor of Law at Harvard University and a staff writer for The New Yorker, where she writes about politics,…
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Jill Lepore untangles the strange sci-fi roots of Silicon Valley’s extreme capitalism – with its extravagant, existential and extra-terrestrial plans to save humanity. In this world, stock prices can be driven partly by fantasies found in blockbuster superhero movies, but that come from science fiction, some of it a century old. If anyone personifies this phenomenon, it’s Elon Musk, the richest or second-richest person in the world on any given day. “The bare facts of Musk’s life, the way they’re usually told, make him sound like a fictional character, a comic-book superhero,” says Lepore. He says he hopes to colonize Mars, create brain-hacking implants and avert an AI apocalypse. He even has a baby named X.
In this first of five episodes Lepore looks at the early origins of ‘Muskism’, and explores how the science fiction stories that today’s techno-billionaires grew up on have shaped Silicon Valley’s vision of the future.