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149 Noam Cohen: The Know-It-Alls

Silicon Valley’s transformation from a tech hub to a dominant force in global politics, business, and society with unintended consequences.

Noam Cohen: The Know-It-Alls


Noam Cohen explores the evolution of Silicon Valley from a technological innovation hub to a significant player in global politics, business, and society, with unexpected consequences. The book covers the rise of companies like Google, Facebook, and Amazon, the challenges they faced, and the influence they wield over various sectors of society. Cohen discusses the political and social implications of the tech industry's power, including issues like privacy, security, democracy, and inequality.


Title: The Know-It-Alls: The Rise of Silicon Valley as a Political Powerhouse and Social Wrecking Ball

Author: Noam Cohen

Publishing year: 2017

Publisher: The New Press

Length in hours: 9 hours and 2 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. Silicon Valley's rise to power and influence over various sectors of society
  2. The unintended consequences of the tech industry's power, including the erosion of privacy and democracy
  3. The political influence of tech companies and their impact on policy decisions
  4. The role of algorithms and automation in shaping society
  5. The challenges and opportunities for regulation of the tech industry
Noam Cohen: The Know-It-Alls

5 funny quotes

  1. "The folks in Silicon Valley are more like cultists than capitalists."
  2. "In Silicon Valley, even the birds sing in code."
  3. "The truth is out there, but in Silicon Valley, we prefer to make up our own."
  4. "The only thing more ubiquitous in Silicon Valley than Teslas are the people talking about Teslas."
  5. "In Silicon Valley, we believe in disruption, unless it's our own lives that are disrupted."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "The tech industry has no guiding philosophy, no sense of ethics or tradition or culture that helps them navigate the complexity of human affairs."
  2. "The notion that we can all do whatever we want because we’re enlightened individuals is just one of the myths that Silicon Valley likes to tell itself."
  3. "The more complex the system, the more brittle it becomes, until eventually it becomes so fragile that even small changes can cause it to collapse."
  4. "A healthy democracy requires a public space where people can encounter ideas that are different from their own, and have a dialogue about them."
  5. "Tech companies are incredibly skilled at creating addictive products that we are eager to use, but they are not very good at protecting us from the harmful effects of those products."

5 dilemmas

  1. Can tech companies balance their pursuit of innovation with social responsibility?
  2. How can society address the power and influence of tech companies in politics and government?
  3. Is it ethical for tech companies to use personal data for profit?
  4. How can we ensure that technology serves the greater good, rather than just a select few?
  5. Can we preserve privacy in the age of Big Data and surveillance capitalism?

5 examples

  1. Mark Zuckerberg - founder of Facebook and influential figure in Silicon Valley.
  2. Larry Page and Sergey Brin - founders of Google and pioneers in search technology.
  3. Tim Cook - CEO of Apple and advocate for privacy rights.
  4. Peter Thiel - venture capitalist and early investor in Facebook and PayPal.
  5. Travis Kalanick - founder of Uber and controversial figure in the tech industry.

Referenced books

  1. "The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires" by Tim Wu
  2. "Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy" by Cathy O'Neil
  3. "The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web Is Changing What We Read and How We Think" by Eli Pariser
  4. "Surveillance Valley: The Secret Military History of the Internet" by Yasha Levine
  5. "To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism" by Evgeny Morozov

Share a quote

"Tech companies are incredibly skilled at creating addictive products that we are eager to use, but they are not very good at protecting us from the harmful effects of those products."

Noam Cohen: The Know-It-Alls
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