Sunset on Silicon Valley

AI safety research outfit MIRI say they’re thinking of leaving Berkeley on account of:

… the housing crisis and other governance failures, advantages and disadvantages of the local culture, tail risks of things taking a turn for the worse in the future, and other factors.

Translated from rationalese to /pol/speak, they’re presumably saying they don’t want to stay in the new “designated shitting streets” capital of the world and pay high taxes for the privilege.

This would be highly symbolic – just as Tesla is perhaps the “hottest” new kid on the block to pack up its bags and move to Texas, so too the “prophets” of the Singularity are mooting following suite. The solution to the “control problem” in AI, if it ever happens, will probably not come from Berkeley.

The SF Bay Area is perhaps the the crown jewel in America’s global brain drain machine.

Silicon Valley – and by extension the US – have enjoyed the privileges of a massive cluster effect. All kinds of tech startups, not just those based in the US, have wanted to move there just to be within the densest concentration of startups, VCs, tech angel investors, etc. on the planet. It is ironic that this is true for an industry whose prime function is to dematerialize person to person contacts onto the virtual ether, but that’s the way it is. It’s difficult to understate the scale of this clustering advantage – of the world’s ~3,500 AI startups, about 600 are located are located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

But all systems have their breaking point and Silicon Valley might be close to it . In a further irony, it is perhaps Corona which will, in retrospect, be seen to have dealt the deathblow. The same forces that propelled tech stock valuations into the stratosphere as people began to work from home and the monetary spigots were loosened have also devalued Silicon Valley’s core remaining advantage.

Within the US, the net effect may well be to just redistribute the tech industry across other centers, such as Boston and Austin. But will they be able to recapture Silicon Valley’s global luster? That’s far less clear – none have Silicon Valley’s “brand”, or the cluster effect at its disposal through decades of concentration of money and talent. The second largest US tech node, Boston, has ~100 AI startups; Austin has 36. Most likely, European startups that would have previously changed HQs to Mountain View to IPO will prefer stay in place.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


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  2. Silicon Valley had its genesis in IQ emigration and concentration. First internal and then international. But smart people weren’t the only people moving in the political environment created by the desire to draw on smart people. Dumb people were moving too, and dumb people were concentrating in their own centers and having their own network effects. Now, the Valley is a test of the idea of a smart place being part of dumb polities – California, America. Is it sustainable?

    I also wonder, if in the future we will see people trying to concentrate other traits into areas, to get network effects. Resistance to poz, for instance.

    As far as Boston goes, I’m skeptical that it could become the new Silicon Valley. It might not be so attractive for bums, but, believe me, there are still a lot around, and you get bad weather too. Pretty unpleasant to bike around in winter – not fun trying to park a car in the city either.

    I don’t know if it is really an attractive place to move to. Most of the brains are pulled here by the prestige of MIT and Harvard. Some of them stay, after. But there’s a limit to how much those institutions can expand and retain their prestige. I think real estate is too expensive to encourage the growth rate needed to develop the same rep, as Silicon Valley. No fields of oranges here, as there were at the start of SV.

  3. OT, not that Jack Ma is going to jail soon, but it looks like Beijing is determined to take him down a peg or two, after he complained about Chinese financial regulators being too restrictive. But then it also seems like Google, the company named after a big river in South America, and Faceyspace are about to be broken up too.

  4. My dad, whom I’m visiting later today, can give you some perspective on how quickly things can change. He was born and grew up in the largely white working class city of San Francisco. After the war he went to UCLA which cost $42 per year tuition (free for him w/ GI Bill).

    He later taught at Palo Alto High School in the mid to late 1950’s and bought a house next to the Stanford University campus for $5500. After getting married in late 1950’s he bought a house in Redwood City for $3500 (on Zillow both of his houses are now listed in the 7-figure range).

    My dad’s close friend tried to get him to go in on an insurance business covering a sedate little area which is now known as Silicon Valley. My dad turned down the offer because it didn’t look like a promising opportunity. He said at that time— in 1950’s— no one could have envisioned that place would become what it did.

    My dad moved to the east coast to teach and would later retire as a school principal. His friend died a number of years ago as a very rich man.

    When my dad talks about these earlier times in San Francisco and Palo Alto he says it was a vastly different world. And it feels like it was just yesterday.

    Things can change a lot and quickly.

  5. The Spirit of Enoch Powell says

    Translated from rationalese to /pol/speak, they’re presumably saying they don’t want to stay in the new “designated shitting streets” capital of the world and pay high taxes for the privilege.×356.jpg

  6. OT, but Japan and Korea does not seem to be doing too badly without a Silicon Valley. I mean, how do you code in Korean or Japanese?

  7. advancedatheist says

    I expected that the Yudkowskyites would give up and move on to other things once Eliezer Yudkowsky’s grifting stopped bringing in enough money. From hindsight we’ll see “artificial intelligence” and its scary shadows, Unfriendly AI and Roko’s Basilisk, as delusions and mirages comparable to Eric Drexler’s charlatanry about “nanotechnology” in the late 1980’s.

  8. Daniel Chieh says

    There’s always Ruby, heh. Which is actually a genuine joy to use, for what it is worth.

    But SV had a certain cultural uniqueness that’s has nothing to do with coding itself but the general love of technology as a religion that’s hard to explain to someone who wasn’t there.

    Korea and Japan have nothing like that.

  9. Silicon Valley emerged because of its proximity to Stanford University and UC Berkeley and some guys named Hewlett, Packard and Moore but sky high housing costs make it tough to recruit talent today. As noted a school teacher once upon a time could buy a house in Palo Alto but its jarring for a tech engineer to find that he can only afford a 60 year old 3 bedroom tract home despite his princely pay. He can’t even afford that unless he got some shares and won in the IPO lottery.

    Now add to high housing costs lunatic politicians running a one party state, and even the tech billionaires like Elon Musk and Larry Ellison are saying goodbye to California.

  10. Morton's toes says

    What has MIRI ever accomplished that the Bay Area ought to miss them? Elizabeth Holmes was a freaking rock star compared to any of them and she is being prosecuted for fraud.

    How is Yudkowsky’s weight these days? Still waiting to see him in a selfie with no shirt!

  11. That Would Be Telling says

    One thing that’s still in California’s favor is that non-competes are unenforceable, and there are other laws that reduce the ability of the money men and their managers to lock people and technologies into failing companies and even after the companies fail, dog in the manger style. So the Bay Area has the world’s most liquid pool of talent in all things pertaining to computers, and this was critical from the very beginning of the Silicon, see the story of traitorous eight. If these companies and people move outside of the state, in the short and long term they won’t be hardly as successful due to this one unique policy preference.

    There was also a large enough pool of engineering talent in post-WWII California that with its computer business exploding IBM set up a facility in San Jose in 1952 because it wasn’t able to hire enough engineers who were willing to work in New York where it had been founded. These people invented for example the first commercial moving head disk drive.

  12. Elmer T. Jones says

    I am working at a high tech startup in Dayton, Ohio. Up the street is the lumber company that sold the wood the Wright brothers used for their first airplane. It’s gritty and post-industrial, but lacks the cachet of places like SF, so no street shitters.

  13. The Indian government seems to be pretty keen on facilitating immigration of Indians into other countries, and they seem to have cultural and institutional adaptations for dealing with street-shitting. I might add that India has a warm climate for the most part, though naturally not as enticing as coastal California.

    I wonder what ratio of American street-shitters, they would be willing to accept in return for each H1B visa. Or criminal blacks – sending the bottom third to India would solve a lot of problems about dysfunctional American cities. American street-shitters/criminal blacks, none of these numbers would really disruptive in the great pool of Indians. The street-shitters probably have low fertility anyway. And I doubt that blacks would have high fertility in India.

    These are the kind of deals that Trump would have worked out, if he had been the hardliner that he pretended to be.

  14. Another possibility would be to use Musk’s tunneling technology to create an underground space for Morlocks.

    BTW, doesn’t much of the impetus for Silicon Valley evaporate with the end of Moore’s Law?

  15. That Would Be Telling says

    BTW, doesn’t much of the impetus for Silicon Valley evaporate with the end of Moore’s Law?

    Moore’s Law is still hanging in there, even if Intel, thanks as far as I can tell to its own hiring of street shitters, has lost the ability to move to new process nodes. Samsung is said to be having some yield difficulties right now, but TSMC is still knocking it out of the ballpark.

    Note that Moore’s Law is “the number of lowest cost transistors you can put on a silicon die doubles at a rate of [fill in the blank].” It’s often confused with Dennard scaling, which gave us a free speed increase ride until it broke down in the beginning of this century, one reason the Pentium 4 Netburst microarchitecture failed so hard, Intel was counting on their being able to get to speeds of 5-10 GHz and use raw speed for marketing.

    As for Silicon Valley, starting in say the 1980s the Bay Area while still being massively focused on chips (witnessed this while for example walking through one of its airports like San Jose’s and all the advertising was niche machines to make chips and the like), it started becoming the place to do things with steadily bigger and faster chips. Which the Boston area for example all but totally failed in, despite being the home of the minicomputer and spreadsheet. As a high tech area it died a very hard death after the end of the Cold War, only revived later and in different parts of the metro area due to the WWW.

    For successive steps in Silicon Valley’s evolution, see for example two Stanford spinoffs, the ‘S’ in Sun Microsystems for Stanford, and Google, which started as a research project there by three grad students using a gaggle of scrounged computers, the latter style of lowest possible cost computing becoming a critical part of Google’s corporate DNA.

  16. Unfortunately American derelicts and negro criminals are not going to voluntarily relocate to India or any other country. They like it here.

  17. The Bay Area was the wrong place for a tech cluster. Far too beautiful and romantic a place.

    I am sure that the shitting in the streets phenomenon is related to tech people deprioritizing physical reality and a general unconcern with aesthetics and beauty. The only other place where people tolerate shitting in the streets is India, for a similar reason – Indian spirituality promotes disinterest in the physical world.

    It never made any sense for tech people to colonize the most beautiful place in the country. You could feel the spiritually oppressive tech atmosphere on the approach.

    Tech should relocate to somewhere flat and uninteresting in the middle of the country where they can not notice the environment they live in, and leave the Bay area to people who love natural beauty.

    Somewhere in Indiana or Ohio, I think, would be suitably bland and featureless.

  18. Daniel Chieh says

    Closest equivalent in Asia atm is Shenzhen but it has a much more hardware versus software focus. China’s general lack of an Open Source community also is a negative effect.

  19. Have you actually been to Berkeley? It is insanely nice.

    The bums and high taxes are certainly the worst parts of the bay area, but that’s really about it on the negatives. As for “cost of living,” how awful it is for your house to go up in value by $50,000-200,000 per year!

    As for Musk, California was so bad for business, he only arrived broke and leaves worth $50 billion.

    Say, what’s the latest from TI and Dell, the two big Austin tech companies. A Dell-brand graphing calculator?

  20. Pshh Silicon Valley is overrated. id software (Quake et al) and Deus Ex (Ion Storm) both came from Texas. What has more cultural value I ask you?

    California is not only going to lose Silicon Valley but covid has basically halted the movie industry dealing a blow to Hollywood. WB signed off its movies to online streaming for a year until shit settles (I think Dune was part of that). Which is a big step in dismembering Hollywood.

    The only thing that can save the movie industry is if Disney (who owns basically everything plebs gag over; Marvel gayness, Star Wars, I think even Fox) buys up entire theatre chains and exclusively plays all their films in ‘Disney cineplex’ (after this hysteria of course). Being such a massive corporation that would allow them to dictate what goes onto online streaming, bluray, and even Youtube.

  21. advancedatheist says

    I sized up Yudkowsky as a charlatan and a grifter years ago. The otherwise intelligent but unworldly people he managed to fool need to stop taking him seriously and stop giving him money.

  22. Well when nuclear bombs start falling, you don’t want all your brainiacs concentrated in one place. You want them dispersed to places like Ohio and rural Montana or something. Pandemic/work-from-home and BLM ferals burning down liberal cities help with that nicely. So Silicon Valley needs to go.

  23. Still waiting to see him in a selfie with no shirt!

    I guess I’m pretty old fashioned, but the people I’d like to see shirtless are all XX chromosome females. I have seen his shirtless selfie which was shared on Twitter, and it gave me nightmares for months on end. I’m not grateful for getting reminded of this.

  24. I doubt whether someone like Zuckerberg or Bezos has more knowledge on how to use his intelligence better than someone who lives in a trailer park.

  25. Did Moore’s law end, though? I was under the impression that it is somehow still going, they just went from 7 nanometers to 5 in two years, so the doubling of the number of transistors seems to hold.

  26. Tech should relocate to somewhere flat and uninteresting in the middle of the country where they can not notice the environment they live in, and leave the Bay area to people who love natural beauty.

    Somewhere in Indiana or Ohio, I think, would be suitably bland and featureless.

    My great grandfather was a math professor at Iowa State University who worked with John Atanasoff, generally considered to have invented the first electronic computer. The first computer tech center could have happened in Iowa but I think there was a problem with him not being near potential investors on the east coast. Mauchly and Eckert were closer.

    I live in Indiana. Silicon Valley is usually considered to be liberal but Ayn Rand libertarianism and Ray Kurzweil transhumanism are popular there. At least some of the Silicon Valley donations to liberal politicians there are really just bribes to keep taxes or regulations off them and don’t reflect actual political beliefs. The libertarian Cato Institute ranks states by how libertarian they are and Indiana ranks near the top so the low levels of taxation and regulation and libertarian atmosphere here might appeal to SV types.

    Where in Indiana, though? Liberal Indianapolis has the same problems as California, just on a smaller scale. Just north of Indianapolis is one of Charles Murray’s SuperZips, the center of which is the town of Carmel I grew up in. There are some tech companies already there in office parks. Another possibility is Lafayette, the home of Purdue University which produces large numbers of engineers. My uncle, brother of my mother, majored in chemistry there. He started work at Eli Lilly here, then started a company here and then moved it out to California. He’s rich now and can afford to insulate himself from the increasing dysfunction of California but I think if he were starting his company today he might stay in Indiana.

  27. Auntie Analogue says

    Should Texas secede from the Union it would likely become an irresistibly attractive haven for tech outfits keen to leave California to its accelerating decline.

  28. Morton's toes says

    I concur with James Corbett on twitter: the medium is the message and the message of twitter is I Hate You!

    What was his BMI when he sent out the photo? He might have computed he was good to go when he got it down to 29.9.

  29. Menschmaschine says

    Hey, non-compete clauses are not always bad. Back in the nineties, a company I once worked for did some Sun hardware trading. A few students that had temporary jobs there decided to get into the Sun accessoire business themselves. But the boss showed them their contracts – no competion allowed in a similar line of business. So they decided instead to try to do something with the then new-fangled Linux OS and founded SuSe Linux. They sold it eventually for 300 Millions; Most certainly a much better outcome than any Sun hardware trade business could have hoped for.

  30. What are the odds that the Silicon Valley exodus will simply turn Texas into another California, thereby ruining it, as has been happening in Colorado as a result of CA exiles?

  31. Did Moore’s law end, though?

    I say it more in anticipation.

    I don’t think we have the same room for improvement in the future, as we’ve seen in the past 10-15 years. I think we’ll be coming up against a lot of physical constraints in material science and not just in chips. Of course, there may be some slight workarounds, like purpose-built chips, or new 3d architectures, but I think Silicon Valley is like a oil field, where it is getting harder to pump the oil.

  32. What are the odds that the Silicon Valley exodus will simply turn Texas into another California, thereby ruining it, as has been happening in Colorado as a result of CA exiles?

    Or New Hampshire as a result of Masshole exiles.

  33. SV can build an entirely new city from the ground up, just for them, with top chefs, apartment buildings, etc.

  34. Daniel Chieh

    …SV had a certain cultural uniqueness that’s has nothing to do with coding itself but the general love of technology as a religion that’s hard to explain to someone who wasn’t there.

    Mark G.

    Silicon Valley is usually considered to be liberal but Ayn Rand libertarianism and Ray Kurzweil transhumanism are popular there.

    The most important role of that religion is signaling to the Big Machers of the East Coast that they are just a bunch of harmless eccentrics who want to cultivate the self-image of independence but at the same time being ready to roll over on a short notice.

  35. The Berlin-Potsdam area has a lot of startups.

  36. Morton's toes says

    Does his mom have a twitter @ – dress? I know it’s his proudest moment ever in a career of stratospheric vanity but surely one of his math pets could have insisted he wear boxers.

  37. Daniel Chieh says

    50/50, though a totally independent Texas will have more latitude on policy to prevent Californication.

  38. I’d vote for somewhere on I-65 between Lafayette and Chicago where you could draw on not only Purdue but U. of Chicago and U. of Illinois. The state line would protect you from Pritzkerism.

  39. What is a non sequitor?

  40. Supply and Demand says

    As far as the article Anatoly was mentioning, it’s worth noting that America relies on AI research to be done by private capital. Japan finances their AI research handsomely, in lieu of subsidizing gender studies and the like that the US/Europe does. I toured Sapporo U in 2014 and their AI lab was on-par any facilities public or private in the US or China, they’re just smaller.

    Also worth noting that Japan’s main island is roughly the size of Cali. It’s already quite concentrated, it’s just different cities have different university AI specialization programs. They all share information on a centralized system, though.

  41. That would make for a great fiction(maybe that’s how things really work?) plot.

    An elite class tries to bend their people indirectly to do things that would be too unpopular if done so explicitly.

    Probably too complicated and will run out of novelty too fast for a full book.

  42. I’d vote for somewhere on I-65 between Lafayette and Chicago where you could draw on not only Purdue but U. of Chicago and U. of Illinois. The state line would protect you from Pritzkerism.

    Nah, there’s too large an IQ gap between places Illinois and Indiana and places like MA.

    Estimating state IQ: Measurement challenges and preliminary correlates

  43. Thulean Friend says

    Closest equivalent in Asia atm is Shenzhen

    Yes, and the situation there is far more alarming in terms of housing.

    The imminent death of California and SV in particular has been foretold a million times by lazy NRx:ers – AK’s blogpost is highly unoriginal in this regard – and they’ve been right about zero times.

    But these prognostications fail for the simple reason that there is no real alterntive. Not in China, nor in the rest of the country. It sort of reminds me about the endless kooky conspiracy theories about the imminent decline of the dollar as the pre-eminent global reserve currency. So much of rightoid ‘analysis’ is lazy wishful thinking (California) or just plain idiocy (dollar).

  44. Indiana and Texas has a large religious right coalition compared to California that would be opposed to big tech and its genetic engineering and transhuman agendas, and in this case they can even readily get the mainline liberal churches to join in, also since the opponent is big tech, they even have a ready made coalition among liberals and non-coastal don’t tread on me anti big business libertarians. Like I am sure they can form a coalition with the liberals against the do you want Google, Amazon, and Facebook to put a spy chip in your brain and stream ads 24-7, and if you can not keep keep up with the monthly payments can they shut the chip down, fry your brain, and turn you into a human vegetable, or the agenda of big tech is to turn everybody into the borg (like Locotus of Borg which used to be Jean Luc Picard) or the Flood from Halo, and you can even get the top brass of big tech to admit it in their unguarded moments.

    I mean looking at how half of Americans are already opposed to a coronavirus vaccine because of how Bill Gates is allegedly planning to microchip everyone, I think this anti big tech argument among people who live in the interior can get a lot of wings.

  45. About genetically enchanced humans and transhumanism, if these things are allowed to come to fruition, and they become as affordable as cars or smartphones, then it will basically become virtually impossible to opt out of these things, even if you personally do not want to, if you want to function competitively in today’s society.

  46. A million braniacs working for the wrong ends might be better off getting some instant artificial sunlight.

  47. advancedatheist says

    Indiana and Texas has a large religious right coalition compared to California that would be opposed to big tech and its genetic engineering and transhuman agendas

    Silicon Valley’s “transhumanists” haven’t come up with anything like an actionable human enhancement, from what I’ve seen. Also super-wealthy people don’t have access to some super-healthcare that the rest of us don’t know about or don’t have access to that happens to work, though they often notoriously waste money on quacks. Steve Jobs’s billions couldn’t buy a cure for his pancreatic cancer, for example.

  48. advancedatheist says

    Assuming that we could ever get some human enhancements that work, the Wokeviks won’t let those technologies get very far when it becomes obvious that enhancing black people’s intelligence makes them act more like functional white people. That would validate what white nationalists have said about blacks’ main problem all along.

  49. I am saying that this cause might find the religious right and liberals in a coalition.

  50. I can see how Chinese Confucianism might be hostile to transhumanism and genetic engineering in that such efforts interfere with the will of heaven.

  51. That Would Be Telling says

    As far as the article Anatoly was mentioning, it’s worth noting that America relies on AI research to be done by private capital. Japan finances their AI research handsomely

    Don’t know about today, but during the Cold War AI research in the US was well funded by the DoD. And government funding of a broken research system like Japan’s can dramatically fail, like their once famed Fifth Generation Computer System effort. (Japan’s is primarily broken because the elders call all the shots, almost all Japanese Nobelists have had to self-exile to be able to do their work in the typical young period of their life where that is done.)

  52. That Would Be Telling says

    The imminent death of California and SV in particular has been foretold a million times by lazy NRx:ers – AK’s blogpost is highly unoriginal in this regard – and they’ve been right about zero times.

    You that sure California can’t kill the Golden Goose? It’s too to know if this time it’ll happen especially with the COVID-19 situation unresolved, but sooner or later I think the state’s ruling trash will make it just too nasty to be able to do good work there. Wokeness is also a factor, the Bay area has become a political etc. monoculture and that seldom ends well.

  53. California has so many people with money leaving, that it is now considering taxing Californians up to 10 years after they have left the state:

    Perhaps in an effort to avoid the consequences of imposing ever-increasing tax burdens on their taxpayers, the wealth tax proposal includes an exit tax to ensure that no one escapes the loving embrace of the California Franchise Tax Board. A person subject to the tax who chooses to leave the state will still be subject to it for ten years, at a sliding scale, amounting to a 1.80 percent exit tax, as Figure A shows. Understatement of tax would carry a penalty of the greater of $1 million or 20 percent of the tax due, on top of existing tax penalties.

  54. Morton's toes says

    Crikey that is only different in degree from the Berlin Wall.

    Somebody needs to tell that cunt Newsome and his ilk “do not put up this wall”.

  55. showmethereal says

    Correct about Boston… NYC has passed Boston for #2 in start up culture in the US. Most Israeli start ups and European ones that want a place in the US go to NY first because of distance and culture.

  56. showmethereal says

    Stanford and Berkeley yes – but let’s not forget the US gov – especially Defense – was who really bankrolled the research that went on there….

  57. showmethereal says

    What is the business startup mood in Russia – based on these initiatives below?

  58. But then it also seems like Google, the company named after a big river in South America, and Faceyspace are about to be broken up too.

    Doesn’t matter. On the back end of all these companies are advertising data that are sold and traded ubiquitously. The data about people being available for purchase on the open market by anyone, governments included, is the real danger. Unfortunately, the worldwide average IQ isn’t high enough for humanity to detect this grave threat to our reasonably free existence.

    Guarantee that the office of future crime, when it is inevitably created, will use Big Data AI based upon dubious science and massive datasets from Google/Facebook, regardless of how many ‘front’ companies they are broken into.

    The text message warrant will read, “your electronic dossier compiled from publicly available datasets has matched the DSM-V for antisocial personality disorder with paranoid features. You are remanded to State Hospital Europa for evaluation and treatment. Stay where you are. The authorities are en route.

    Such ‘mental health 48 hour holds’ already exists in many US cities.

    The legislation to enable this Nationally/globally, if not done under Covid-XX emergency ‘authority,’ will be reported in the MSM as a “return to bipartisan normality.”

  59. I visited Berkeley and aside from the romantic name of the city (after the great idealist philosopher) – it seemed boring to my eyes. I mean compared to any Western European cities, it’s not even really a city – more like a set of streets with strange shops i.e. an ordinary suburb, aside from having more eccentric residents. I guess its main benefit is the public transport connection to San Francisco.

    On the other hand, central San Francisco is really a beautiful, visually interesting and unique city. (With the warning that the first couple hours after you arrive in San Francisco, you will feel likely a culture shock from its crazy homeless people.) It also suffers from being a tourist trap – but that is expected considering how beautiful parts of the city are.

    Stanford is financially impressive and a pleasant quiet environment, although I’m not sure you could become habituated to its inauthentic and kitsch fake Spanish-colonial architecture.

    Palo Alto (I’ve cycled through every street for a couple days), is very boring. Of course the standard of living inside its uninteresting houses is high.

    Most workers in Silicon Valley are introverted, screen-addicted, gastarbeiters, with a low cultural level, and a high salary. Palo Alto is perfect for such kind of people. They don’t need some Renaissance Florence or Classical Athens.

  60. Berkeley is really two cities. There are the flatlands that extend from the University down to the Bay and are as you note unattractive. Then there are the Berkeley Hills with many gorgeous homes and no stores. Ironically it is from these hills that you get the best views of San Francisco.

    The really exclusive areas around S.V are the towns of Los Altos and Atherton. Don’t know how welcome bicycle riders would be as they don’t want tourists and sightseers.

  61. That’s funny, just the other day I was thinking of how well Dell weathered the changes that sent so many other PC companies either down the tubes or toward a purely enterprise focus. There’s certainly different perspectives on their financial status, but to me they now look like a surprisingly successful rather than a continually struggling company.

  62. Bardon Kaldian says

    I don’t believe anything rooted in rootless cosmopolitanism has a future. As I Ching says: A meteor is bright, but soon it is gone.

  63. SaneClownPosse says

    Going from SF Bay to weird Austin. How long before Austin resembles SF?

    Texas quickly passed a state law criminalizing advocating BDS of Israel. One lone star state to another.

    Is there an Austin Bohemian Grove?

  64. Morton's toes says

    Bohemian Grove is for geriatrics. The cabal clan collects at Burning Man now.

    Yes Austin has a Burning Man franchise (Flipside). The fellow (Steve Outtrim) had a post speculating the admins might be burning Burning Man down even as we speak.

  65. David Davenport says

    What is a non sequitor?

    Latin, meaning,”[It] does not follow [ that …]”

  66. The only reason why Musk is transferring to Texas is because California keeps threatening to shut down his factories for violating health and safety regulations. And has anybody mentioned that Tesla cars have horrible fit and finish?

  67. Every place has its advantages and disadvantages. Some technology is more cutting edge than other technology. Huntsville AL is a tech center although not a major one. The U of C is a very high powered university.

  68. Unconstitutional interference by a state in interstate commerce. And I think the Supreme Court would so rule.

  69. Thorfinnsson says

    If you read the article carefully, the primary problem is the unaffordability of housing in the Bay Area. This is caused by the effective domination of local politics why what the author refers to as the “local landed gentry”. The problem is further compounded by lunatic liberalism of course.

    IF a new regional tech cluster were to displace Silicon Valley, and that is indeed a very big if as Thulean Friend points out (more on that later), there is no particular reason that the same issue would not simply reproduce itself.

    The US political system provides tremendous power to lower levels of government, including local and county governments which have nearly complete control over land use. Given that housing is the primary store of wealth of most Americans, and that local politics are mostly ignored by the general public, once a region develops a housing affordability crisis a nearly impregnable constellation of forces emerges to protect this unearned wealth. The problem is only solvable by the state government. California has made some efforts to address this, but the efforts have failed once again due to the concentrated lobbying power of real estate interests.

    As for Silicon Valley dying, it’s certainly possible, but I recall a quote by Michael Bloomberg, “Talent attracts capital better than capital attracts talent.” For Silicon Valley to die I think it would take more than expensive real estate. After all, expensive real estate hasn’t killed the financial sectors of New York and London. The movers and shakers who make Silicon Valley what it is, along with the top rungs of employees in the region, can after all afford to live there. Work with lower remuneration has simply been moved out of the area, and indeed this was done a long time ago.

    Lunatic liberalism could perhaps do the job, but the tech sector itself along with the California and federal governments will act as countervailing forces against anything so onerous as to threaten the survival of the industry.

  70. Thorfinnsson says

    I quacked (searched for on Duck Duck Go–please do not use enemy search platforms) “death of Silicon Valley” and found a long history of mostly bad, confused articles proclaiming the death of Silicon Valley stretching back quite a long time.

    Here’s one from 2009 promoting Malta as the new Silicon Valley:

    The Financial Times on how the death of some coffee shop is killing Silicon Valley:

    I don’t even know what the thesis of this piece is:

    The prophecies vary, but in general it seems that Silicon Valley will be killed (or has already been killed) either because investors want to make money or because politicians want to tax money. It is additionally important to point out that Steve Jobs, who loved freedom (as you can see from the application store on your iPhone) is dead (really dead). Also, it’s apparently very important for a bunch of bright young things to have the freedom to code together in a crackhouse or perhaps a truck stop diner.

    Either way, it’s clear that Silicon Valley is doomed. All we need now is a book from the great Admiral Martyanov informing us that owing to the absence of ENCLOSED TECHNOLOGICAL CYCLES that Silicon Valley is not only dead, but was never even alive at all.

  71. Silicon Valley won’t die but it will fade away just like other US industries. Immigration — which provided the brawns to power the manufacturing industries of the USA at the turn of the 20th century — had also provided the brains to power the technology industries of Silicon Valley at the turn of the 21st century. Now that source of talent is going with new global centers of technological innovation which are attracting an increasing share of the world’s brains. Places like Beijing, Shenzhen, Singapore, Bangalore, London, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Moscow, Seoul, Taipei, Oslo, Sao Paulo, Mexico City, Barcelona and other parts of the world have become centers of technological innovation in their own right.

    What made Silicon Valley successful in the first place was its ability to attract all the brains in the world in one small place to fuel its technological innovation which in turn attracted the venture capital to fund all kinds of hi-tech startups. Anybody who’s been to any Silicon Valley company will instantly recognize how alien the people who work there are from the rest of America — from Chinese semiconductor engineers to Indian software developers, from Israeli startup founders to European corporate executives, from Russian computer scientists to German electrical engineers, from British venture capitalists to French patent lawyers — truly the world’s greatest concentration of entrepreneurial talent anywhere on this planet.

    But that very success has bred complacency which induces a sense of entitlement that is afflicting California today. Locals want more from public coffers for higher taxes; higher prices for less housing; longer commutes for higher wages; less education for more recreation; more regulations for less growth; the list goes on and on. In many ways, California is a victim of its own success as the locals sidelined by that success conspire to grab a bigger piece of the pie to serve their own parochial interests. When Silicon Valley was the only game in town, the locals could do as they please. But that’s not true anymore as places have sprung up all over the world to offer the same ingredients which made Silicon Valley the stunning success that it turned out to be.

    That ultimately will be the legacy of Silicon Valley — as the historic birthplace of high-tech industries which have spread all over the world — which will inevitably fade as those other places take its place as the new tech capitals of the world.