‘The End of Reality’ book talk with author Jonathan Taplin
Wednesday, September 6, 2023
12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. PT
Wallis Annenberg Hall (ANN), Sheindlin Forum (106)
Join Jonathan Taplin and Ernest Wilson for a engaged discussion of Taplin’s latest book, The End of Reality: How Four Billionaires are Selling a Fantasy Future of the Metaverse, Mars, and Crypto (September 5, 2023, PublicAffairs). Sandwiches will be provided.
In The End of Reality, Taplin provides perceptive insight into the personal backgrounds and cultural power of these billionaires — Peter Thiel, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Marc Andreesen (“The Four”) — and shows how their tech monopolies have brought middle-class wage stagnation, the hollowing out of many American towns, a radical increase in income inequality, and unbounded public acrimony. Meanwhile, the enormous amount of taxpayer money to be funneled into the dystopian ventures of “The Four,” the benefits of which will accrue to billionaires, exacerbates these disturbing trends.
Taplin is a public intellectual, writer, film producer, and scholar. He is the director emeritus of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California and was a professor at the USC Annenberg School from in the field of international communication management and digital media entertainment until 2017. Since his graduation from Princeton University in 1969, his extraordinary journey has put him at the crest of every major cultural wave in the past half century: he was tour manager for Bob Dylan and the Band, producer of major films such as Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets, an executive at Merrill Lynch, creator of the Internet’s first video-on-demand service, and a cultural critic and author writing about technology in the new millennium.