Tech Billionaires vs. the People's Needs and Rights
Date(s) - 11/03/2021
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
  • UUCPA Class: Tech Billionaires vs. the People’s Needs and Rights
  • Presenter: Chris Cassell
  • Date: Wednesday Nov.3
  • Time: 7:30 to 9
In July 2021 Jeff Bezos flew to the edge of space in a craft designed and built by his own company. “Bezos took a joy-ride to space on the backs of his oppressed Amazon workers!”, screamed the progressives. As a progressive myself, I too am disturbed by the prospect of billionaires having unfettered control of humanity’s future, and that the current dismal state of income and other inequalities will only grow “astronomically” worse as we expand into space. Yet I also share Bezos’ vision and belief that human expansion into space is necessary for our continued civilization. Much of this vision goes back to the work of Gerard O’Neill in the 1970’s, and his iconic book “The High Frontier – Human Colonies in Space”. I think this is the overarching motivation for Bezos’ venture, even if his short-term business interest in “space tourism” is trite and undemocratic. The tech billionaires (Bezos, Musk, Branson) are moving humanity in a necessary direction, in my opinion, in a way that the public sector (NASA, etc.) seems unable to achieve. But complete economic freedom, which private enterprise craves, inexorably concentrates wealth and power into fewer hands. How do we balance such freedom with the controls needed to assure that the needs and rights of all people are guarded? This is a quandary for which I don’t have a solution. Let’s discuss! Depending on the level of interest, this could be the first of a series of discussions with the broader scope of “Ethical Issues of Technology”.
Chris Cassell, Ph.D., has had a lifelong interest in space. Career highlights include working on Lockheed Martin’s proposal for the James Webb Space Telescope (awarded by NASA to competitor Northrop Grumman) and being a co-founder of Deep Space Industries, a space startup with the long-term goal of resource extraction from the near-Earth asteroids (and which failed as a business in 2018). Chris grew up with UU in Maryland and joined UUCPA in early 2020.


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Meeting ID: 890 3744 1528

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