If there was any doubt about the tech analysis community’s love affair with C.E.O.s, it was broken in recent months by two events: the revelations about the so-called “Pentagon Papers,” which detailed the CIA’s involvement in domestic intelligence activities, and the publication of the “Global Zero” report, which investigated the use of mass electronic surveillance that the intelligence agencies have used in recent years against the population of the United States.
The former was a devastating blow to the techno-technocracy, a group that in previous years had received a warm embrace from American politics because it represented the technocratic version of “smart power.” In the post 9/11 era, the power of C.E.O.s had increased, to the point that some of them were openly endorsing “smart power” as a political solution to complex global problems, including the war in Afghanistan, the global drug trade and the war on terror. The report, titled “Zero Dark Thirty,” was a document that the authors of the report had prepared while at the CIA, but a former employee leaked a cache of it to The New York Times in August 2009. Its release made the tech analyst community very agitated, not just because it was a blow to their ideal image, but because the report was critical of the military/intelligence community’s role in the global war on terror (and of the United States’). The report was a serious blow to the “Pentagon Papers” and the “Global Zero” report, which showed that the intelligence community is not the only game in town.
These revelations were also a reminder that the American ruling class was not in the least worried about the future of the tech economy. In a report on the future of technology and information that appeared in 2006, for the New York Times, the American technocratic and technocratic aristocracy claimed that their work with the new technologies, which were changing the world not only in the traditional sense, but also in other respects, was no different than the work of the ancient Greeks (and now the Romans) who, before coming to power, had built magnificent palaces and temples in order to satisfy their need to know the future. It was then that the techno-aristocracies found themselves facing an unending supply of information they could no longer understand and, thanks to the Internet, could no longer ignore. Even with its capacity for rapid dissemination, the new media, with its global reach, it could not replace the traditional power of the state and private
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