Ask A Genius 359 – Technological and Political Disruption
April 22, 2018
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: Hong Kong, you are dealing with one people, one language for the most part: ethnically and linguistically unified. Different than most aspects in India. You have a tremendous number of languages that can prevent an ease of unification.
It needs to be a translation of all the information throughout all the structures, so it’s more difficult. And that can put a buffer on the success of India economically, technologically compared to China. It does seem to be showing in some of the statistics on growth rates in terms of G.D.P., for instance, or P.P.P. China looks like a more likely candidate than India now.
Rick Rosner: Okay.
Jacobsen: So, it seems reasonable.
Rosner: All that seems reasonable, but, at the same time, they have so many more people than we do that even some of their crappy cultural aspects leads to the waste of human capital they have a human capital waste.
Rosner: We need to continue to be the dominant technological country in the world. We need to maintain excellent colleges, universities; we need to continue to be a place where technical innovation is valued and where yahoos don’t pollute the culture, so nobody wants to live in America.
Jacobsen: Also, the big secret weapon in the United States is the genius passport, the H-1B.
Rosner: Yes, if that it goes away, then we shot ourselves on the balls. Which we could do, but then that leads to another question, which is: America’s political system had sixteen years of political hiccups.
You can take the twenty-first century in American politics from starting with Bill Clinton’s Oval Office blowjobs.
Jacobsen: That’s true.
Rosner: He gets blown. Al-Gore gets pissed off when the whole Clinton thing comes out. This is the way I understand it, which may not be entirely accurate. However, Gore is annoyed with Clinton for humiliating the office of the presidencies.
Doesn’t seem to sufficiently help Gore get elected; Gore loses election 2000. We get a new president and leave our VP in there eight years followed by Obama who is a decent confident guy, but perhaps too conciliatory.
So, we have eight years of Republicans fucking over everything he wants to do. We all settled and saw lessons of how you can fuck up government, which the Republicans don’t hesitate to do for eight years.
Now, we go four years of a unified Republican government, but they accomplished something because now they can take credit for everything. But it’s government by yahoos, a-holes. So, some people argue Democrats are infected with greedy corporations too, but that’s an argument that fucked things up badly.
Anyway, we may be looking at another few years of super bad government. So, the twenty-first century sucks for America politics. We’re looking at twenty solid years, twenty. Two thousand and one 2001 through 2021 of bad politics.
You can imagine getting a whole lot better for a while after that. Now, that may or may not screw up America forever. Our democracy is durable. We’ve been through terrible periods, so it’s an open question as to whether Democracy formally met its match in terms of people manipulated by media and the rise of the empowerment of yahoos.
So, we don’t know whether America is screwed for good or whether we will come out of it, or whether the bias wrecked America. We could have permanently; there’s a possibility we could have permanently fucked up politics yet still be a free country for technology if technology could still flourish.
Even though our political leaders are all jerks; so, that’s question one: Is America screwed forever, or screwed technologically? Question two is: Does it matter for the lives of Americans to see the future?
Because you look at other countries that at one time ruled the world. England, Spain, Rome/Italy, life in England or in Italy or anywhere in Europe is pretty good if everybody gets to fully participate in the technological advances of the age.
Regardless of whether their country is the country; so, the US could screw itself up and become a once-great country and American citizens could still enjoy 98% of the fruits of technological advancement minus a certain amount of national pride because now China is the country.
It could be that all the great entertainment is coming from along some region that stretches from Shanghai-Hong Kong, if that’s even geographically reasonable, or the US entertainment industry moves to Vancouver because global warming has made Vancouver nice.
So, the US loses its coolness and is now. America becomes still a cool place, but not the coolest. Does that matter? Not to any great extent; unless, we become a religious dictatorship along the lines of The Handmaid’s Tale. Or Cory Doctorow’s Rapture of the Nerds.
Regardless, the future is going to be creepy. Humans plus technology into the future. The people at the forefront of that – the two or three or four billion citizens of the most advance countries – in the world will find their lives being radically changed.
First from generation to generation, one generation will live at a certain level of normalness plus weirdness, but they’ll be able to hold on to the values they always held for their entire lives. Go back to the twelfth centuries, so outside of war and conquest changes people’s social landscapes, both social belief and lifestyle landscapes change on a large average scale.
But the deal is if you were a shoemaker, it’s likely your dad was a shoemaker; your kids will be shoemakers; your dad was working on the cathedral. You might grow up to work on the cathedral. Your kid might grow up to work on the cathedral.
Now, you have lives where somebody was. There are a few people alive today. There is a very small percentage of people alive today who remember the transition from primarily horse and buggy transportation to powered transportation, who remember the coming of the phone, who remember the coming of radio T.V.
The Internet hits most people in the mid to late nines. Smartphones start coming out 2007. Now, we’re lousy with them. Our basis for behavior has been weirdified, but we still do pretty much what we’ve always done.
Most people, they’ve always talked on the phone. They’ve always watched TV, have always traveled via cars and subways, buses, airplanes. All of those things are in place for most of our lives. There are changes that don’t rip us apart lifestyle-wise.
So, each generation has its own way of being. We’re not the twelfth-century people. We are not going to stay to the same generation to the generation. We are the people where everything each generation has its way of the being.
Then the next few generations are going to see people have to super add-ons within their lives, not from generation to the new generation, but within people’s behaviors. These will be changes to our values too. Our values will adjust.
The generations who are among the first to have expected a lifespan of 150 years. Those people either are already born or will be born throughout the rest of the century. A lot of those people will have to acknowledge new partnership structures through childbearing.
People will access all sorts of genetic tweaks. These will be options, choices. People who can choose to have their thought, their ability to process information, severely automated or shared with other intelligence entities.
We’re going to have to make all sorts of choices, and so the weirdness is going to hammer us at a more and more frequent rate. So, in living, in those times with the disruption, those times will be at least based on tech as much as it is on the politics of the time.
The medium future will be a time of technological disruption. The technological disruption will be at least as significant as the political disruption. I guess we’ll stop there.
[End of recorded material]
American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
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