1) The title of the essay is a Galileo quote. He could have gone with a more offensive allegory but atheists aren't as likely to go with "and there was light." Nonetheless we have a tech billionaire insinuating he's the persecuted genius responsible for heliocentric thought and pretty much everyone who isn't in the tech industry on the side of the witch burners. That's some straight up Erlich Bachman shit right there, down to the goddamn Latin.
2) His comparison is to Beijing, where men are coolies and real men are mandarins. China knows how to treat poor people.
3) His "heresies" include "intelligence augmentation, genetic engineering, and radical life extension" and I mean fuck. HG Wells whipped out the Morlocks and Eloi 120 years ago. It's bad enough that rich people are living longer and poor people are dying precipitously. Fuckin' Justin Timberlake knew the optics on that shit weren't great in 2011.
4) Fucking Newton and alchemy. Turning lead into gold is not the same as turning ghettos into places nobody can afford to live anymore. The normies are commuting from Stockton.
On the far side of a fire pit, two founders of Shypmate, an app that links you to airline passengers who will cheaply carry your package to Ghana or Nigeria, were commiserating. Kwadwo Nyarko said, “We’re at the mercy of travellers who never have as much space in their luggage as they said.” Perry Ogwuche murmured, “YC tells us, ‘Talk to your customers,’ but it’s hard to find our customers.” Altman walked over to engage them, dutiful as a birthday-party magician. “So what are your hobbies?” he asked. Nonplussed, Ogwuche said, “We work and we go to the gym. And what are yours?”
“Well, I like racing cars,” Altman said. “I have five, including two McLarens and an old Tesla. I like flying rented planes all over California. Oh, and one odd one—I prep for survival.” Seeing their bewilderment, he explained, “My problem is that when my friends get drunk they talk about the ways the world will end. After a Dutch lab modified the H5N1 bird-flu virus, five years ago, making it super contagious, the chance of a lethal synthetic virus being released in the next twenty years became, well, nonzero. The other most popular scenarios would be A.I. that attacks us and nations fighting with nukes over scarce resources.” The Shypmates looked grave. “I try not to think about it too much,” Altman said. “But I have guns, gold, potassium iodide, antibiotics, batteries, water, gas masks from the Israeli Defense Force, and a big patch of land in Big Sur I can fly to.”
- The New Yorker
5) Bitcoin. No one on earth outside of Sam Altman's food group thinks Bitcoin is a good idea. "I don’t know who Satoshi is, but I’m skeptical that he, she, or they would have been able to come up with the idea for bitcoin immersed in the current culture of San Francisco—it would have seemed too crazy and too dangerous, with too many ways to go wrong." Said literally the rest of the world. Too crazy and too dangerous are pretty much the majority report on Bitcoin right now.
6) Fucking SpaceX. "If SpaceX started in San Francisco in 2017, I assume they would have been attacked for focusing on problems of the 1%, or for doing something the government had already decided was too hard." SpaceX is trying to make space cheaper through reduce, reuse, recycle. Meanwhile, about 1 in 3 apps out of Ycombinator in 2017 are tapeworms for the digital digestive system.
7) And if you didn't get the Galileo reference, let's put it on the nose while I stand next to SpaceX and Bitcoin.
Wildfire seems to be a bit of mixture of Yik Yak and Patch, bringing local user-submitted news and campus alerts that are tolerated though not officially approved by university adminstrations.
Nobody fucking needs that. Nobody fucking wants that. And it's the kind of bullshit that makes a cracker box in Menlo Park cost $900k.
If the pandemic does come, Altman’s backup plan is to fly with his friend Peter Thiel, the billionaire venture capitalist, to Thiel’s house in New Zealand.
It's not San Francisco. It's not ideas. It's not things that are too dangerous to discuss. It's Sam Altman and the fundamental entitlement of the tech industry and it shows that you can take the bloom off the rose but you can't take the glass off the glasshole.