In an era when faith in government and its institutions is quickly eroding, the businesses of Silicon Valley are stepping in to fill the gap. With outsize supplies of cash, talent, and ambition, a small group of corporations has been gradually seizing leadership—and consumer confidence— around the world.
In the Silicon States, renowned futurist and celebrated international think-tank leader Lucie Greene offer an unparalleled look at the players, promises, and potential problems of Big Tech. Through interviews with corporate leaders, influential venture capitalists, scholars, journalists, activists, and more, Greene explores the tension inherent in Silicon Valley’s global influence. If these companies can invent a social network, how might they soon transform our political and health-care systems? If they can revolutionize the cell phone, what might they do for space travel, education, or the housing market? As Silicon Valley faces increased scrutiny over its mistreatment of women, cultural shortcomings, and its role in widespread Russian interference in the elections of other countries, we are learning where its interests truly lie, and about the great power these companies wield over an unsuspecting citizenry.
While the promise of technology is seductive, it is important to understand these corporations’ possible impacts on our political and socioeconomic institutions. Greene emphasizes that before we hand our future over to a rarefied group of companies, we should examine the world they might build and confront its benefits, prejudices, and inherent flaws. Silicon States pushes us to ask if, ultimately, this is the future we really want.
Lucie Greene is the worldwide director of The Innovation Group, J. Walter Thompson’s in-house creative think tank for the future. The Innovation Group’s work is frequently cited in publications including The New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Guardian, WWD, USA Today, and The Times (London). She is a thought leadership columnist for Campaign, writes for the Financial Times on futures, and has spoken at conferences including TNW, WWD Digital Forum, SXSW, Web Summit, Cosmoprof, and Ad Week, discussing future trends across multiple lifestyle sectors. She has appeared on BBC, Fox News, and Bloomberg TV as an expert on the future.
Praise for Silicon States
“Via candid interviews with corporate leaders, influential venture capitalists, scholars, journalists, activists, [Greene] explores exactly what’s at stake if we continue to let the largely unregulated Big Tech determine our futures.”
“In this entertaining and expertly researched book, renowned futurist and celebrated international think-tank leader Lucie Greene . . . peels back the layers to show us what lies beneath the glossy sheen of technotopia.”
“A timely examination of big tech’s outsize cultural and political clout.”
—Stephen Phillips, San Francisco Chronicle
“Silicon States couldn’t come at a better time. Author Lucie Greene shines lights on the issues in the tech world, how the government has gotten involved, and what that means for us.”
“Greene raises smart questions about Silicon Valley’s desire to layer the information superhighway on top of our communities and city services.”
—800-CEO-READ, Editor’s Choice
“Timely and important. If you’re not scared by Big Tech yet, you will be after reading this.”
—Rowland Manthorpe, technology correspondent for Sky News and former senior editor of Wired UK