Inventors of chachka and trinkets

Inventors of chachka and trinkets
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Bling makers: the COVID-19 pandemic dispelled the myth of Silicon Valley

Marc Andreessen, an American engineer, innovator and investor posted a “Time to build” piece where he argues that humanity was completely unprepared to fight the pandemic. He specifically assessed the widespread American innovation model. We could have all necessary vaccines, masks and ventilators but we decided not to invent any of this. Furthermore, we decided that we do not need factories to build these things, he argues. It means that it was our own conscious decision not to build.

Silicon Valley, in fact, provided Zoom to those who are able to work remotely now. Netflix and various deliveries serve those who sit at home and eat leftovers.

However, what escapes the eye is that those who needed Zoom could have avoided going to the office before the pandemic. They did not really spend much time in offices. A variety of deliveries, of course, earn extra money, but people, as it turns out, want and literally need to sit in cafes and go shopping. This is part of the culture and social interaction.

The pandemic pointed out what was not particularly obvious - the limitations and impotence of the world's wealthiest companies in the face of a public health crisis. Innovative technologies do not build or create anything. They help analyze data sets and track social contacts, but people create vaccines in laboratories, and masks and ventilators at factories.

Another Silicon Valley giant, Andrew Grove, wrote 10 years ago that Silicon Valley was created by engineers seeking to invent and scale industries that were actually moved abroad. Now, the pandemic has clearly shown that he was right. Such a system is perfectly able to develop dazzling trinkets, controlled by software, which, of course, in many aspects make life easier, but in the face of a global crisis, it was actually helpless.

As a result, those who assumed that the US could turn its dominant IT industry into a driving force for innovation against the pandemic were disappointed.

The United States proved to be another confirmation that one should not put eggs in one basket. The current pandemic has clearly shown that areas that really matter, such as health and industrial production, are experiencing huge failures that have cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

It turned out that a 1-cent medical mask is much more important than a smart watch for $500, which, in fairness, can also be used to preserve health, but in quieter times.

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