Marc Andreessen’s ‘Techno-Optimist Manifesto’

It is not succinct and it is not especially coherent, but at least we now have a full record of the beliefs Marc Andreessen — and others of his ilk — are going to bat for. It is just about every right-libertarian fantasy — except that one — wrapped in the kind of absolutist framing that strives to negate disagreement, fact-checking, or critical thinking.

I think anyone can find themselves agreeing with parts of this in a broad sense. Progress is, indeed, a good thing, and regression is usually bad. Brilliant. But the point of this essay is not in its most general and defensible interpretation. If you start digging into the details of this essay — however abstract they often are — they reveal a dark, deeply pessimistic worldview in which the solutions to all our problems can be found in products we can buy, and that market forces should triumph over caution. For example, Andreessen writes that “[d]eaths that were preventable by the AI that was prevented from existing is a form of murder”, but does not write the same of deaths due to a lack of oversight. Any deaths caused so far by autonomous vehicles are excusable but, in Andreessen’s world, one cannot say the same for cases where such technology was subjected to regulatory controls.

I could go on, but I do not think it is necessary. This is a useful shibboleth for elite venture capitalist philosophy in 2023, and little more.