Ask A Genius 472 – Corroding Unifying Institutions (2)
December 13, 2018
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What would be the downside of this shift?
Rick Rosner: It is the constant distractions. I am reminded of another science fiction story from probably 60 years ago by Kurt Vonnegut, where the concept of equality in his future, in the future of the story has been taken to the point that people who are smarter than average have a buzzer going up in their ear every 30 or 45 seconds, which makes it impossible for smart people to form coherent streams of thought, and thus reduces them down to the same constant level of cognition as everybody else.
And so, constantly being occupied with social media and ephemeral noise people are completely distracted. You see it on the street. You see people who have been zombified by the content coming over their phones. And it is not exactly pop culture; it is the stuff over people’s phones via text, which is individualized culture.
They are getting texts from people they know about themselves so it is even more specifically tailored for them and it eats up people’s attention and productivity. So, that’s a huge downside, especially if they are doing that shit while they are driving.
But the upside, once we get a better handle on being able to deal with this stuff, will in the future involve adding to our cognitive abilities and information processing ability. The upside is that people who are good at keeping up will gain enhanced abilities; having the best apps, by having the best add-ons to their brains, they will be the most productive effective citizens of the worldwide thought cloud and will gain more and more resources, whatever those resources are in the future.
More and more in the future, information will create money and the people who are the best at sucking out the processing information will be the rich people of the future. And the people who are bad at it, they’ll make bad decisions about their consumption or will become technologically Amish to some extent; they will miss out on being the apex predators of information of the future.
There are all niceties we can think about and work out in general. That’s the deal that the old institutions fall away and are replaced by attention to new and constantly changing stuff.
[End of recorded material]
American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
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