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Workers at the Facebook office in Menlo Park, Calif. Silicon Valley. Jeff Chiu / AP

Franklin Foer — former editor of the New Republic, now with The Atlantic — is out today with a book on the dark side of Silicon Valley, "World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech":

  • "[T]he Big One, the inevitable mega-hack that will rumble society to its core[,] ... might be an exposed cache of intimate information that disrupts marital relations en masse ... It might disrupt our financial system, so that fortunes disappear in an unrecoverable flash. Or it might trigger an actual explosion of infrastructure that kills."
  • "The tech companies can see the Big One coming ... Their companies have created devices and code that enable omnipresent surveillance; their pack-rat servers hoard personal data."
  • "The best analogy is the financial crisis of 2008. There was nothing that the banks could do to gain political traction in the face of the catastrophe that they unleashed. When the Big One arrives, the tech companies will be vulnerable to the regulation that they have skillfully avoided."
  • "Just as the financial crisis triggered the creation of Elizabeth Warren's Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — the rare launch of a new agency — the Big One has the potential for creating a sizable regulatory infrastructure."
  • "Silicon Valley routinely trashes cultural and economic gatekeepers — while its own companies are the most imposing gatekeepers in human history."

Frank's big 💡: "We have deluded ourselves into caring more deeply about convenience and efficiency than about the things that last. Compared to the sustaining nourishment of the contemplative life and the deep commitment to text, many of the promiscuous pleasures of the Web are vanishing."

Go deeper

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Obama speechwriter fears Biden unity drive is one-sided

Cody Keenan (right) is shown heading to Marine One in December 2009. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.

What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."

Scoop: Conservative group puts $700k behind Hawley

Sen. Josh Hawley explains his objection to certifying the 2020 election results hours after the U.S. Capitol siege. Photo: Congress.gov via Getty Images

A Republican group is raising and spending huge amounts of money defending Sen. Josh Hawley after he was ostracized for early January’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Why it matters: The Senate Conservatives Fund is backfilling lost corporate and personal donations with needed political and financial support, helping inoculate the Missouri lawmaker as he weighs re-election or a possible presidential campaign in 2024.