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The Great Tech Panic of 2017

That twinge of worry. That occasional, sudden-onset widening-gyre sensation. It’s hard not to experience a bit of anxiety at the world’s recent technological upheavals—the endless stream of hacks, leaks, and cyberattacks; the whiplash advances in artificial intelligence and automation; the constant fear and loathing stoked by @socialmedia; and the Hierony­mus Bosch spectacle that is democracy in the age of flying monkeys and fake news. It might be different if the leaders of the tech industry were offering reassurances, but instead we’ve got Tesla founder Elon Musk warning about the “existential risk” that AI poses to humanity, Y Combinator president Sam Altman expressing his certainty that automation is coming for millions of jobs, and countless tech moguls reportedly buying up “apocalypse insurance” in the form of New Zealand real estate. And if those rich white men have their hair on fire, God help the rest of the world racing to set up 2FA on Gmail .

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