Sam Biddle has some good fun with SillyCon Valley "job descriptions." He declares AOL's "Digital Prophet" David Shingy the quintessence, a man whose "job is literally to make predictions about the future on behalf of AOL. They don't have to actually come true." But he documents many more, Account Managers who declare themselves "Fashion Evangelists," official "entrepreneurs" who aren't, official "curators" who don't, and official "hackers" who... what?
Of course it is true that our fatally delusive, predatory, unsustainable, self-congratulatory entrepreneurial culture forever celebrates the innovators... who endless re-package the same tired crap as though it constitutes "progress" or re-introduce serially failed products as though they constitute "novelty." We forever celebrate the risk takers... who externalize costs and risks onto the vulnerable while larding themselves with unearned benefits they scam and skim, and who rise ever upward on a tide of privilege and connections from failure to failure to failure.
Although I do agree that Shingy's "Prophet" post is the quintessential one, it is not only as a reductio ad absurdum of the usual megalomaniacal techbro job-title inflation, but because the explicit assumption of the Prophetic role -- although without any available credentials, standards, or checks on performance -- suggests the key source of the phenomenon Biddle is ridiculing, its connection to the suffusion of "technology" discourse with specifically futurological assumptions and aspirations.
Futurology is an anti-disciplinarity pretending to be inter-disciplinary (its partisans are forever making pronouncenents based on the most superficial and ultimately obfuscatory skimming of historical, anthropological, sociological, political science, and various other scientific and legibly constituted disciplines), it engages in advertorial faux-journalism combining the uncritical enthusiasm of consumer fandoms, ignorant pop-science aimed at ignoramuses, and amplifications of the norms and forms of marketing deception and promotional hyperbole -- amplifying these sometimes to the point of outright religiosity -- already found in breathless tech company press-releases, celebrity CEO hagiography, and life-coach huckster seminars.
Blathering stock-tip experts on financial cable shows don't have to be right to continue to be treated as experts because their real expertise has never been sound investment advice or accurate prediction but peddling crap compellingly to the rubes for the corporate sponsors. It is no less true that futurological prophets can always be wrong (or, in the classic futurological gesture, always declare The Future to be "Twenty Years Away," a horizon that never arrives to demand reckonings but remains... "Twenty Years Away") and yet remain Prophets because their predictions are really, substantially efforts to activate and console irrational passions in the storm-churn of technoscientific change in an era of environmental catastrophe and neoliberal precarity: desires for easy money, invulnerability, sexual satisfaction, fears of change, error, humiliation, aging, death.