By 2018, the ‘Effective Technologists’, an influential faction within Silicon Valley, have steadily expanded their sphere of influence. They have positioned themselves as critical players in the technology and startup ecosystem, carving out a new power dynamic that parallels, and increasingly threatens, traditional centers of power.

The faction’s leadership, once Silicon Valley outsiders, are now among its most influential figures. Arthur Clark, the charismatic machine learning maven, helms an AI-focused startup that has recently earned ‘unicorn’ status. Mina Koh, the soft-spoken but sharp-witted financier, runs a billion-dollar venture capital firm specializing in emergent technology investments. Jackson Reed, the brash, larger-than-life visionary, is revolutionizing social media with his expansive platform, while Gavin Chen continues to push the boundaries of the biotech industry with his genomic sequencing giant.

In 2018, the ETs find themselves straddling two worlds. They are Silicon Valley’s elite, yes, but they also represent a radical break from tradition. Their libertarian ethos, which champions deregulation and the privatization of power, and their willingness to use unorthodox strategies to effect change, sets them apart from their industry peers.

The Menlo Memo, the faction’s foundational document, has gained considerable traction within the tech community. Many view it as a blueprint for the future, and its principles are often quoted and dissected in the industry’s influential blogs and forums. It paints a picture of a future where entrepreneurship is exalted, where wealth is a measure of virtue, and where government intervention is seen as an obstruction to progress.

Against this backdrop, Ivanpah’s announcement and the subsequent sharing of research findings with DARPA rattles the ETs. They are concerned about the consolidation of power and the strengthening alliance between Ivanpah and the government. The fact that Ivanpah has made significant strides in quantum technology, a field in which several ETs have vested interests, only amplifies their concerns.

The ETs see the government’s involvement in Ivanpah as an infringement on their vision of a future defined by techno-libertarian principles. They decry the lack of transparency in Ivanpah’s dealings and push for the release of Quantcomms trade secrets. However, their vocal criticisms betray their growing unease; they had not anticipated that their competitors would be government-backed.

As 2018 draws to a close, the ETs are grappling with an unfamiliar sense of vulnerability. They are used to being the disruptors, not the disrupted. However, their shared conviction in their manifesto’s principles, their immense collective wealth, and their pervasive influence within the tech industry ensure that they are far from being counted out.

Looking forward, the ETs are gearing up for what promises to be a significant confrontation. They are lobbying, strategizing, and rallying their allies. In the face of Ivanpah’s revelations, they are recalibrating their approach, readying themselves to counter the seismic shifts in the power landscape.

This year has been a sobering reminder that disruption can come from unexpected quarters. As the ETs navigate this new reality, their libertarian ideals are being put to the test. Yet, despite the challenges they face, the ETs remain undeterred in their quest for a future where technology, not traditional power structures, reigns supreme.