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How ‘Augmentia’ Captures Big Tech’s Worst Impulses

Author shares humanity's evolving view of tech titans like Jobs, Dorsey and Musk

Only fifteen years ago, tech founders were seen as positive disrupters. Noble underdogs. Free-thinking messiahs.

A Steve Jobs keynote speech was like a glimpse of Jesus himself.

Some tech pioneers deserved the majority of their praise. They were changing the world in miraculous ways, crumbling the old guard and creating a more open world. The Internet gave everyone a voice, and the personal computer made it easier to work and express creativity.

It was an exciting transition that felt like it was giving the power back to the people.

Today, there is immense skepticism about the effect our technology is having on society.

  • In America, suicide rates have never been higher
  • Mass shootings are happening at an alarming rate
  • A.I. is replacing individual effort
  • Public discourse and political division feels like it’s set to detonate a civil war

It begs the question: Did these tech founders intend for these consequences, or do they just not care?

This is the bedrock of my new novella, “Augmentia.”

Augmentia follows Ellen Brooks, a struggling tech inventor who is deadset on jumpstarting the augmented-reality revolution. After her latest prototype glitches, Ellen unlocks a dangerous new side of her personality that threatens her reality and casts her into madness.

Written in second person point-of-view to capture the neuroticism and possible autism of an obsessive tech programmer. Heavily inspired by books like Bret Easton Ellis’s “American Psycho” and 80s tech films like David Cronenberg’s “The Fly.”

The book unravels at a fast pace, never breaking from Ellen’s maddening perspective, until an unsettling twist changes her course dramatically.

As we witness Theranos’ Elizabeth Holmes finally pay for her crimes in real life, “Augmentia” serves as a fictional exploration into a similar mind: The cold and calculating wannabe tech billionaire.

Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes Sentenced to Over 11 Years in Prison | WSJ

Through dark comedy and twisted characterization, it attempts to capture the tyrannical pursuit of success that marks so many young tech entrepreneurs.

Augmentia is available to read on THOUGHTCRIME, a substack that highlights the delicate underpinnings of modern society through an unfiltered lens, free from corporate or ideological interference.

If you appreciate subversive creativity, and don’t want to submit yourself to predatory algorithms, come join me. I’ll be publishing all future films and stories there.

Daniel Algarin is an L.A.-based writer and director.

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