Silicon Valley and Ancient Greece

“Silicon Valley and ancient Greece”, writes Ulrich Richter in #SpecialCollaboration

In the San Francisco Bay, the free speech movement began in Berkeley, where there was a hippie trend; The beat generation was born, there were many movements that coexisted, different groups of thoughts such as Hindu, meditation and yoga, other Zen, etc.

However, by the early 1970s a change in mentalities was beginning to take shape. “Computing has gone from being relegated as a tool of bureaucratic control to being embraced as a symbol of the expression of individuality and liberation,” wrote John Markoff in his study of the convergence of counterculture and the computer industry titled What the dormouse said. what the dormouse said). That was a spirit that Richard Brautigan endowed with lyricism in his 1967 poem, “All Protected by Machines of Loving Beauty.” The fusion between the cyber world and psychedelia was confirmed when Timothy Leary claimed that personal computers had become the new LSD and revised his famous mantra to proclaim: “Turn on, boot up, turn off.” The musician Bono, who later befriended Steve Jobs, often talked to him about why they ended up creating the personal computer industry. “The inventors of the 21st century were a bunch of weed-smoking sandaled hippies from the West Coast, like Steve. They saw things differently,” he stated. “Where politics had failed to transform humanity, computers could.”

It is clear to me that none of the technological leaders is a monk or priest, but today they do constitute a social group not based in Miletus or Samos or anywhere in Greece; most of them have settled in the mecca of technology, Silicon Valley, where mathematics has played a predominant or fundamental role since the end of the 1960s. It corresponds to the southern zone of the San Francisco Bay Area, in the Northern California. Business growth in the area began with electronics businesses, microchip manufacturers, video game designers, and computer companies. Most of the technology centers such as Google, today Alphabet Inc., Apple Inc., Cisco Systems, eBay, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Nokia, Microchip Technology Inc., Oracle Corporation, Yahoo !, Tesla Motors, Facebook, McAfee, PayPal, Twitter, Xerox PARC, among others; so if in ancient times one of the philosophical and mathematical centers was Greece, today it has re-emerged in Silicon Valley.

We can mention some of the most important cities in Silicon Valley, such as Menlo Park, Mountain View, Los Altos, San Francisco, Palo Alto, San José, Belmont, among others; places where, I repeat, the headquarters of some of the technological giants are located.

Even the Pentagon has opened a center to be close to the most innovative and not be left behind in the world of technology, or perhaps it settled in that geographical area so that by having them nearby it can monitor or spy on their progress in technological innovations.

This promised land heir to ancient Greece gives so many benefits that some of the most prominent billionaires are found there; To name a few, we have the founders of Google, today Alphabet Inc., Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Arash Ferdowsi of Dropbox and Peter Gassner of Veeva Systems, among others.

In and around Silicon Valley, at least twenty self-driving commercial efforts are underway. Auto giants like Nissan and Ford compete with technology companies of the caliber of Apple, Baidu and Google itself.

In this coastal mountain range of California and the San Francisco Bay there is a center of knowledge: Stanford University, one of the best educational institutions in the United States in the field of engineering and computer science, which gave rise to technology companies such as HewlettPackard, Cisco, Yahoo!, Sun Microsystems and Google itself, today Alphabet.

Certainly, when reflecting on ancient Greece, it is impossible not to observe the parallels between the mecca of mathematical and philosophical knowledge of the ancient world, and the digital disruptive pole erected in Silicon Valley today.


Twitter: @UlrichRichterM

Lawyer and activist, Master in Criminal Sciences

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Silicon Valley and Ancient Greece