Jacob Silverman Keynote Speaker

  • Established journalist focusing on technology’s impact on society.
  • Co-author of "Easy Money: Cryptocurrency, Casino Capitalism, and the Golden Age of Fraud"
  • Written for the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The New Yorker & The New Republic.

Jacob Silverman's Biography

Jacob Silverman is a journalist who has been writing and speaking about technology’s impact on society for more than a decade.

He is the co-author, with the actor Ben McKenzie, of “Easy Money: Cryptocurrency, Casino Capitalism, and the Golden Age of Fraud” (Abrams, 2023), which was an instant New York Times Best Seller and is currently longlisted for the Financial Times Business Book of the Year Award. He is the author of “Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection.

As a reporter and columnist he has published widely, including in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The New Yorker, and The New Republic, where he was a staff writer.

His investigations often focus on where corporate power collides with politics, labor, national security, or economics. A longtime critic of the unchecked growth of big tech and the surveillance state they helped create, he is increasingly concerned about Silicon Valley’s drift toward the illiberal right.

Jacob is fascinated by technological innovation but believes that the private sector, bloated with cash from the zero-interest rate years, has been allowed to subsume the mantle of heroic innovators – and the enormous profits that come with them – while many Americans still find their basic needs unmet. The solutions to many of our problems may involve technology, but they inevitably require confronting difficult, morally inflected political battles over party, ideology, and legislative and budgetary priorities. It’s these kinds of interdependencies and complex decisions that Jacob likes to interrogate in his work.

Jacob has published book-length denunciations on Google and Facebook’s eradication of personal privacy; deep dives into Twitter’s compromised relationship with Saudi Arabia’s government; and interviewed revolutionary war reenactors baffled that they’ve been banished from Facebook (using the word “militia” turned out to be a mistake). His work has taken him to the Kenyan highlands and Midtown c-suites. He’s interviewed startup founders sweating under billion-dollar expectations, CIA torturers dodging accountability, homeless folks dealing with police brutality, and people of every political persuasion trying to navigate life in our new digital panopticon. One of the intellectual pleasures of his work is that he gets to talk to so many people, often outside his Brooklyn bubble.

Jacob spent much of the last two years investigating the cryptocurrency bubble, traveling to Miami, Texas, North Carolina, and El Salvador, where he reported on the constitutional crackdown by self-proclaimed “cool dictator” President Nayeb Bukele. For the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, he wrote and hosted “The Naked Emperor,” a 4-episode limited podcast series that was one of the first produced in the wake of FTX’s remarkable collapse. He continues to report on Binance, FTX, and other major industry players, and will be attending and writing about Sam Bankman-Fried’s forthcoming criminal trial for Air Mail.

More broadly, he is interested in illicit finance, spectacular acts of corporate malfeasance, and the possibility for political reform in an age of widespread cynicism and polarization.

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Jacob Silverman's Speaking Topics

  • • Where tech meets politics:

The rightward drift of Silicon Valley and the newfound political power of tech CEOs and venture capitalists.

  • • The cryptocurrency craze:

Fraud, the role of venture capital in pumping up token values and what the future of crypto might look like.

  • • Social media companies:

Data collection, surveillance, algorithmic influence.

  • • U.S. tech companies and the U.S. security state:

How tech is now part of the defense industrial base.

  • • U.S. tech companies and foreign countries:

Eg. Twitter’s complicated – and long compromised – entanglement with Saudi Arabia.

  • • Social and cultural discussions:

Changing definitions and debates on privacy, identity, surveillance and being permanently connected online.

  • • The AI bubble:

Acknowledging the material impact while throwing some cold water on its supposed achievements – and the people behind it.

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Videos of Jacob Silverman

FTX's Crypto Empire Collapse | Jacob Silverman | TMR
FTX's Crypto Empire Collapse | Jacob Silverman | TMR
Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection | Jacob Silverman | Talks at Google
Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection | Jacob Silverman | Talks at Google

Articles, Media & Podcasts

Books by Jacob Silverman

Terms of service book
Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection
Easy money
Easy Money

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