I follow Stewart Brand‘s ongoing work, and keep an eye on people connected to his social network. This interview fills in the longer history of the intelligensia in Northern California.
What is the connection between the cold war establishment, the Sixties counterculture and cybercultural icons like Stewart Brand, Kevin Kelly, John Perry Barlow and Esther Dyson?
According to Stanford University professor Fred Turner, the connections are intriguingly fecund. In his excellent new book From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Steward Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism, Turner shows how Stewart Brand’s libertarian cyberculture grew out of the Cold War defence military-industrial complex and then San Francisco’s hippie counterculture.
The end product, Turner says, is digital utopianism — an ideological idealism about computers now articulated by Silicon Valley companies such as Google.