Regardless of where you live or work, Silicon Valley undoubtedly touches your life; indeed, the tech industry’s ubiquitous gadgets promise us more efficiency, convenience and fun. Yet despite Silicon Valley’s utopian promise, more and more of us find ourselves addicted to our smartphones, made insecure by social media, and alarmed at how tech companies profit off our personal data. And while Silicon Valley’s CEOs are often viewed as visionary prophets, their companies’ policies have sown social discord around the world, led to mass evictions in the Bay Area, and perhaps enabled far-right nationalist parties in the Western World.
A People’s History of Silicon Valley follows the history of the people exploited, displaced, and made obsolete by the tech industry, from the colonization of the Bay Area to the present day. From the first Macintosh to the rise of social media, A People’s History of Silicon Valley peels back the curtain on an industry that brands itself as visionary yet which may be chipping away at the foundations of society, including our democratic institutions.
Keith A. Spencer is a San Francisco-based writer, artist and commentator. He is currently an editor at Salon.com, where he manages science and tech coverage, and previously served as editor-in-chief of the Bay Area culture magazine The Bold Italic.