Who Gets To Survive the Future?

Author Douglas Rushkoff talks billionaires, escape pods, his new book + the Medium essay that kicked it all off. Join us LIVE on Sept. 9, 2022

Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

Dune. Westworld. Detroit: Become Human. The Handmaid’s Tale. The Hunger Games.

We’ve all read, seen, played, heard about, or lived through some version of a dystopian future. But for Medium writer, author, and renowned public intellectual Douglas Rushkoff, the ideas touched upon in a variety of seemingly lighthearted entertainments — robots taking over from humans, women reduced to ovary sacks, the world’s richest people doing whatever the hell they want no matter the consequences — is not the future, it’s the present.

He should know. He was at the table with a handful of billionaires discussing their plans to solo survive a life-altering earth event, be it war, climate change, social unrest, or disease. And he wrote about it. First, he penned this essay which ran in 2018 here on Medium. And now? Said Medium post is expanded to a book, Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires, published by W.W. Norton.

It’s not sci-fi. It’s now.

Graphics by Team Medium

And we’re going to talk about those billionaires and their bunkers (or rocket ships), the relationship between tech advancements and capitalism, the future, writing, publishing, and fandom on Friday, September 9 in a special Twitter Spaces event hosted by Medium.

Rushkoff’s team sent me an advance copy of the book, which I devoured over a long weekend. His work isn’t theoretical; it is based on a series of conversations he had with folks like Richard Dawkins, the scientists who likely informed Jeffrey Epstein’s impregnation dreams, and the technologists who led us down the slippery, circular slope of our full-scale embrace of technology — without fully contemplating how it impacts all people.

I definitely want to ask him about the concept of how “A highly technological society supports denial at scale” and his thoughts on systems that enable folks to flee entire planets. Whew. Lots to unpack. I’m also curious about his writing life: Does he have a routine and if so, what is it? How does he balance writing on Medium with his Team Human podcast and authoring 20 books over the years while also teaching digital economics and media theory at CUNY?

Won’t you join us? And, if you have any questions for Rushkoff, drop a comment and let me know. Then log on to Twitter on Friday, September 9 at 2 p.m. EST/11 a.m. PST for a convo that hopefully prepares us for a more inclusive, less dire future. After all, I don’t own an escape pod, so I’m pretty invested in making Earth work. How about you? Let’s talk about it. Click here to set a Twitter reminder for this very special Medium in Conversation.

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Adrienne Gibbs

Adrienne Gibbs

Director, Creator Growth @Medium. Editor of ZORA and MOMENTUM. Writer. Mother. Proud recipient of an official Beyoncé shout out.