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Illustrations: Matty Huynh

The Privileged Have Entered Their Escape Pods

Technology gave us the dream of a cocooned future. Now we’re living it.

Editor’s note: This piece is a spiritual successor to “Survival of the Richest,” a report about how the wealthy plot to leave us behind after an apocalyptic event.


“Don’t tell anyone, but we’re thinking to ride this whole thing out in Zurich, where the numbers are better.”

It sounds idyllic. So much so that I can’t help but wonder if the threat of infection is less the reason for his newfound embrace of virtual insulation than it is the excuse.

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Unlike their human mothers, a predictive algorithm could anticipate their every need in advance and deliver it directly, removing every trace of friction and longing.

I can’t help but see the dismantling of the Post Office as a last-ditch attempt to keep the majority from piercing the bubbles of digital privilege through something as simple as voting. Climb to safety and then pull the ladder up after ourselves. No more voting, no more subsidized delivery of alternative journalism (that was the original constitutional purpose for a fully funded post office). So much the better for the algorithms streaming us the picture of the world we want to see, uncorrupted by imagery of what’s really happening out there. (And if it does come through, just swipe left, and the algorithms will know never to interrupt your dream state with such real news again.)

Written by

Author of Team Human, Present Shock, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, Program or Be Programmed, and host of the Team Human podcast http://medium.com/team-human

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Author of Team Human, Present Shock, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, Program or Be Programmed, and host of the Team Human podcast http://medium.com/team-human

The undercurrents of the future. A Medium publication about tech and science.