Members of the Silicon Valley elite are celebrating the Burning Man festival this week, which has been described as a “networking event” for Big Tech billionaires.
Though it is typically presumed that attendees of the drug-heavy desert festival in Nevada are hippies, the festival attracts a large percentage of Silicon Valley’s billionaire tech elite.
Previous attendees have included Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, former Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz, Uber co-founder Garrett Camp, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and Dropbox CEO Drew Houston.
Tickets for 2018 cost upwards of $425 each, however, some attendees spend thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars to attend the event in luxury.
George Gilder, author of Life After Google, discussed the relationship between Google and Burning Man with Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow on the Breitbart News Daily radio show. According to Gilder, Google’s philosophy was born out of the founder’s affinity for the Burning Man music festival, which takes place annually in Nevada. “When you don’t believe in God, it’s not that you believe in nothing, it’s that you’ll believe in anything,” Gilder said. “And Silicon Valley needs a religious vision. And it’s religious vision is that its artificial intelligence can transcend human minds.”
“Recent years have marked a shift for Burning Man: It’s become something of an ‘It’ networking event for Silicon Valley tech gurus and stifled Wall Streeters looking to blow off steam,” reported the New York Post. “They’re not interested in totally roughing it — and that’s led to the creation of lavish camps known as ‘Billionaire’s Row’ with all the luxuries of the Ritz, including private chefs.”
“While most festival attendees refuel with canned soups, beef jerky and protein bars, those with limitless resources pay as much as $50,000 to camp in style with seated dinners and toothsome tasting menus,” the New York Post continued.
Chef Keven Lee, who cooks for rich attendees at Burning Man, declared in an interview, “My clients fly in… They are the elite: celebrities, billionaires, sports stars, developers, you name it.”
Although Burning Man is a far cry from Silicon Valley’s normal environment, some changes have followed the elite into the desert. This year’s festival is stressing consent. According to the Associated Press, “Organizers are reminding attendees that just because the counter-culture festival in the Nevada desert is known for occasional nudity and kinky landmarks like the ‘Orgy Dome,’ it doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all when it comes to touching or nonconsensual sex.”