Kara Swisher on Tech Billionaires: “I Don’t Think They Like People”

01 Apr 2024 • 26 min • EN
26 min
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Kara Swisher landed on the tech beat as a young reporter at the Washington Post decades ago. She would stare at the teletype machine at the entrance and wonder why this antique sat there when it could already be supplanted by a computer. She eventually foretold the threat that posed to her own business—print journalism—by the rise of free online media; today, she is still raising alarms about how A.I. companies make use of the entire contents of the Internet. “Pay me for my stuff!” she says. “You can’t walk into my store and take all my Snickers bars and say it’s for fair use.” She is disappointed in government leaders who have failed to regulate businesses and protect users’ privacy. Although she remains awed by the innovation produced by American tech businesses, Swisher is no longer “naïve” about their motives. She also witnessed a generation of innovators grow megalomaniacal. The tech moguls claim they “know better; you’re wrong. You’ve done it wrong. The media’s done it wrong. The government’s done it wrong. . . . When they have lives full of mistakes! They just paper them over.” Once on good terms with Elon Musk, Swisher believes money has been deleterious to his mental health. “I don’t know what happened to him. I’m not his mama, and I’m not a psychiatrist. But I think as he got richer and richer—there are always enablers around people that make them think they hung the moon.” This segment originally aired on March 1, 2024.

From "The Political Scene | The New Yorker"

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