Life,  Tech

Critical Look at Tech Titans’ Doomsday Prepping: Underground Bunkers and the Illusion of Escaping Collapse

Everyone is equal before death.

The world’s richest man thinks otherwise. Even if they always have to die, they can at least postpone it for a while than others.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s “secret fortress” was recently exposed.

This 8,500-acre compound is located on the Hawaiian island of Kauai at a cost of US$270 million. It is the size of 10 standard American football fields, covering working and living areas, self-sufficient systems, and an area of about 460 square meters equipped with explosion-proof equipment. Door to the air raid shelter.

Zuckerberg, who is worth $125 billion, is not the only one preparing for the end of the world.

Tech giants are afraid of wasting their imagination.

On December 14, 2023, Zuckerberg’s mansion “Kolao Ranch” on Kauai, Hawaii shocked the world.

Kauai is located in northern Hawaii and is named “Garden Island” because of its tropical rainforest coverage. The Na Pali Coast in the north is famous for its sky-high cliffs and deep valleys studded with waterfalls. The 16-kilometer-long Waimea Canyon, with its deepest point exceeding 900 meters, was praised by American writer Mark Twain as the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific.” The McBride Arboretum has the largest native flora in Hawaii and was the scene of the science fiction film “Jurassic Park”.

The scenery is picturesque, and the land price alone cost $100 million. The construction cost is $170 million, and should end up being more than that.

The name of Koolau Ranch is obviously related to “dinosaur”. There is the real Kualoa Ranch on the island of Oahu in southeastern Kauai. Among them, the tourism project “Jurassic Adventure Tour” can take people to visit the iconic shooting spots of “Jurassic Park” and “Jurassic World” and enjoy the exciting scene of velociraptors swarming.

Zuckerberg’s Koolau Ranch is obviously much more sophisticated than the amusement park of the “Jurassic” era. It is only 16 kilometers away from the home of “007” actor Pierce Brosnan.

When the land was purchased in 2014, it was generally believed that it would be a “recreation paradise” for Zuckerberg and his family. In 2017, several “land dispute” lawsuits involving local people occasionally hit the news. At the end of 2023, the “air raid shelter” investigated by “Wired” surfaced.

Over the past ten years, Zuckerberg’s fortress has taken shape: covering an area of 8,500 acres, the ground is divided into two buildings, including residential, office, sports fields, tree houses, energy and food supply systems and other functional spaces. The two are connected by underground tunnels ; There is also a 460-square-meter shelter with explosion-proof doors under the ground.

Zuckerberg paid special attention to the 1:1 configuration of bedrooms and bathrooms: 30 bedrooms, 30 bathrooms.

The report emphasized that one of the buildings is equipped with a gym, swimming pool, sauna, hot tub and tennis court, and the owner’s survival is completely self-sufficient – the water tank is 5.5 meters high and 16.8 meters wide, with a powerful water pump running through it.

The air-raid shelter has living space and mechanical room, the door is explosion-proof, and the concrete is also explosion-proof. There is a secret door in the library. Entrances and exits throughout the property are gated with keypad locks, soundproofed and surrounded by cameras.

The compound is surrounded by a 1.8-meter high wall. All workers involved in construction, regardless of rank and level of involvement, must sign a confidentiality agreement. A construction worker was quickly fired after allegedly sharing photos of the project on Snapchat.

The world’s most famous social media mogul takes privacy seriously. Ironically, he may not be willing to protect the privacy of 3 billion users.

In 2018, the data company “Cambridge Analytica” serving the Trump campaign obtained 50 million Facebook user data for political manipulation. During the hearing, some members of Congress asked Zuckerberg, “Who will protect us from Facebook?” Zuckerberg avoided talking.

The impregnable Koolau Ranch gradually reveals its true identity – not just a resort for the rich, but more like a “Noah’s Ark” for a very small number of elites.

In 2015, Zuckerberg announced that he would donate most of his wealth during his lifetime. He wrote in an open letter to his daughter that one of the main goals of his philanthropy is “to promote equality.”

“Today, so many people are being stripped of their potential,” he declared: “The only way to realize our full potential is to unleash the talents, ideas and contributions of everyone in the world.”

A technological elite who cares about global equality spends a lot of energy and financial resources to build a “doomsday shelter”. The main goal is to isolate himself and his family from everyone outside without discrimination, even if the people outside may starve or be infected with the plague. Or get eaten by zombies.

Perhaps, the rich’s charitable foundations are not much different from the Catholic “indulgences” of the past.

Zuckerberg is certainly not the first tech giant to build an “ark” for the end of the world.

OpenAI’s ousted and reinstated CEO Sam Altman was revealed to have hidden guns, gold, antibiotics and gas masks.

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman bought motorcycles, guns and ammunition, prepared to “stay at home for a while” if necessary, and even had laser eye surgery, which he believed would help significantly improve his career. Chances of survival in a disaster – Only by seeing clearly can you run fast.

LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman estimates that more than half of Silicon Valley billionaires have invested in some type of “doomsday insurance,” such as a bomb shelter.

Musk’s bunker is called “Cyber House” and is shaped like the Tesla pickup “CyberTruck”. There is a detailed technical description on the official website. It is a survival system supported by solar panels, wind turbines, water purifiers, air purifiers and heat pumps. It is based on the principle of nuclear submarines and is designed for use under natural disaster conditions.

Going to the island is a more mainstream approach.

The land in Hawaii is almost sold out to the rich. Like the smaller island of Lanai, off the coast of Maui, it’s now essentially owned by Oracle founder Larry Ellison.

In 2023, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos spent $147 million to buy two mansions in Indian Creek Island, Florida. Also living nearby are celebrities such as Tom Brady, the greatest athlete in NFL history, Ivanka Trump, the daughter and son-in-law of former US President Trump, and Jared Kushner.

Further and larger islands are also preferred.

New Zealand is no longer the “Middle-earth” in “The Lord of the Rings”, but a “Xanadu” created by technological elites. Peter Thiel, the founder of PayPal, was digging a bomb shelter in the South Island. Local residents reported it and work was stopped last year. Ultraman Sam and Peter Thiel have made an agreement that if an apocalyptic event occurs, they will get on a jet and fly to New Zealand.

Douglas Rushkoff wrote a book called “The Rich Man’s Defense of Survival,” in which a group of billionaires talked about how to configure bomb shelters. Rushkoff commented that it felt like they were talking about bomb shelters as if they were talking about buying game skins (so natural).

Silicon Valley bosses seem to be senior players of the AAA game masterpiece “The Last of Us”, and they have deeply understood the essence of “The Last of Us” from a technical perspective. “The Last of Us” was first released in 2013. It tells the story of an infectious disease outbreak, humanity is facing extinction, cities are reduced to wilderness, and survivors kill each other for resources.

Unfortunately, the extremely wealthy technological elite of the country have not understood the soul of the game. Life is a game of “impermanence”. No matter how many hardships you experience, fate will not treat you half favorably. Everything in the world is still moving, and love and hate disappear in an instant. Even if “heaven and earth are unkind”, the protagonist has not lost his virtue. “Already aware of the universe, I still pity the green grass and trees.”

From a less literary perspective, the beliefs of Silicon Valley rich people are actually completely “start-up company” style: First, as long as there is enough money and technology, human beings (mainly the rich) can survive like gods and transcend what befalls ordinary people. disaster; secondly, civilization can also be “exited”, “archived” and “restarted”.

“Being rich but unkind” was a saying in the past, but it is not advocated now.

All living beings who drink yogurt and lick their lids have to buy a smart lock if they have no more than 500 yuan in cash at home. Why can’t a Silicon Valley billionaire who adds $8 million to his account every night he sleeps dig a bomb shelter?

The rich dig air-raid shelters, which of course stimulates consumption and increases employment opportunities. There are benefits. But what is offensive is not that they spend money to dig air-raid shelters, but that they talk about “human welfare” all day long, but what they do is basically irrelevant.

In front of the media, Silicon Valley elites argued for three days and three nights over the concept of “will artificial intelligence exterminate humanity?” They were all defenders. Turn around and go straight to the Middle East, invest more, and work hard on research and development, lest you fall behind others.

These richest people in the world already have everything, but as if it is not enough, even the quality of “selflessness” has to be snatched over their heads.

In fact, there is a premise that cannot be ignored when using money to protect yourself: there is still order in the world – if the end of the world really comes and everyone enters the “state of nature” in the Hobbesian sense, the first thing to lose value is money. .

The huge security team will give priority to their own safety; the workers who build the air-raid shelters obviously know where the precious food and water are hidden. No pile of gold is high enough to surround the fate of a mortal mortal. The all-pervasive monitor was not monitoring outsiders, but one’s own back.

If so many smart people realize that the end of the world is possible, they should use the money to build air-raid shelters to study ways together. If the worst happens, death won’t be too miserable.

Of course, since so many smart people have taken measures to protect themselves, it proves that what they are preventing is not the end of the world in the “state of nature”, but earthquakes, tornadoes, plagues and proletarian revolutions.

The science fiction writer Belyaev wrote a novel “Leap into the Void” (1933) for reference.

When the revolution was about to win, a group of bankers, priests, playboys, and socialites realized something was wrong. They raised funds to build a spaceship, coerced some scientists, workers, and other “slaves” to work on the ship and fly to “Xanadu.” The conflict between labor and capital broke out, and the “master” had to sail the ship by himself. The ship “capsized” on Venus and suffered a lot of torture. When the workers heard that the Earth Revolution was coming, they robbed the spaceship and left, while the elites died in hatred.

To sum up, it is very similar to this “joke”: let a part of the water heat up first to conduct heat conduction to the cold water, and as a result, the hot part “evaporates” first.

The world is indeed less equal.

They also died for a long time, and those who had no money dug them up and called them fossils; those who had money turned them into tomb sites.

In an archaeological sense, the rich man’s air-raid shelter still has high historical value.

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