The Next Big Thing

David talks to John Naughton about what’s coming next in the tech revolution and where it’s taking us. From quantum computing to cryptocurrency, from AI to the Internet of Things: what’s hype, what’s for real and how will it shape our politics. Plus we discuss what China understands about technology that the rest of the world might have missed.

Talking Points: 

The metaverse is the next big thing in Silicon Valley. It feels like the logical conclusion of prevailing trends.

  • This is not actually a radical break.
  • The gaming industry is developing the metaverse. And big tech is investing heavily in gaming. 
  • The metaverse bypasses many elements of the real world that people like Zuckerberg are keen on, such as government regulation.

What will be the next big technological shift? Are we in a kind of lull?

  • The internet of things has not gone away.
  • Blockchain, which enables crypto, is still a significant technology.
  • Proponents of Web3 want to disrupt centralized control of the Internet.

Does the Chinese system show us that there is another choice on technology? 

  • The general view of autocracy is that it can’t be done. The problem is imperfect information.
  • Has technology made it possible to escape the autocrat’s trap?

Technology has undeniably changed our lives, but the liberatory promise does not seem to have been realized.

  • When will technology give us control over our own time? 
  • The kind of capitalism that drives the tech industry is unstable unless it grows.
  • The relentlessness of consumer society is antithetical to a particular kind of creativity and a particular kind of politics.

Mentioned in this Episode:

Further Learning: 

And as ever, recommended reading curated by our friends at the LRB can be found here: