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Author of Team Human, Present Shock, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, Program or Be Programmed, and host of the Team Human podcast http://teamhuman.fm

In this closing excerpt from Team Human, Rushkoff calls on us to “Find the Others”

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Human beings can intervene in the machine. That’s not a refusal to accept progress. It’s simply a refusal to accept any particular outcome as inevitable.

Team Human doesn’t reject technology. Artificial intelligence, cloning, genetic engineering, virtual reality, robots, nanotechnology, bio-hacking, space colonization, and autonomous machines are all likely coming, one way or another. But we must take a stand and insist that human values are folded into the development of each and every one of them.

Those of us who remember what life was like before these inventions remade the landscape have a duty to recall and proclaim the values…


As even our smartest friends fall to conspiracy fever, we have to accept it’s not about logic or politics, but addiction

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It comes in waves. A friend here, a co-worker there, getting curious about one conspiracy theory or another until they follow one too many trailheads, and end up over the edge. It’s a casualty of living in disorienting times, we tell ourselves. It will eventually pass.

But the hardest part is when the people we’ve traditionally looked to for their brilliance and insights fall into this paranoid trap, as well. They leave us wondering how this could happen to people smarter than ourselves. …


Taking back reality with the original digits: the fingers on our own two hands

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Maintaining home field advantage means staying in the real world. But sometimes it’s hard to know what’s really real.

We must learn to distinguish between the natural world and the many constructions we now mistake for preexisting conditions of the universe. Money, debt, jobs, slavery, countries, race, corporatism, stock markets, brands, religions, government, and taxes are all human inventions. We made them up, but we now act as if they’re unchangeable laws. Playing for Team Human means being capable of distinguishing between what we can’t change and what we can.

It’s akin to the stages that video game players go…


The problem with policing a language already built on objectification

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

I’ve been reading a lot lately about Brandeis’s Prevention, Advocacy & Resource Center, PARC, and its well-meaning effort to make language less oppressive. The “oppressive language list” they’ve come up with mostly includes labels like “slave” to describe an enslaved person, “prisoner” for someone who is incarcerated, or “victim” for someone who has been victimized.

The idea here is that turning someone’s oppression or situation into a label is forcing an identity onto them. It’s especially destructive when such labels become derogatory, such as “imbecile” for people within a certain IQ range, or “dumb” for people who are incapable of…


Towns and cities are human places; nations are just ideas

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The people with whom we disagree are not the real problem here. The greatest threats to Team Human are the beliefs, forces, and institutions that separate us from one another and the natural world of which we are a part. Our new renaissance must retrieve whatever helps us reconnect to people and places. The largest organic association of people is the city. Organized around resources, the commons, and marketplaces, cities grow from the bottom up. As a natural amalgamation of humans, they take on the qualities of any collective organism, such as a coral reef or a termite mound.

During…


On the re-publication of Robert Anton Wilson’s ‘The New Inquisition’

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Robert Anton Wilson lived on the frontlines of the war for our reality. Like a latter-day Socrates by way of Paul Krassner, he was a revolutionary philosopher satirist who sought to preserve the wiggle room between human beings and our underlying assumptions about the world. Facts are fewer and far between than we have been led to believe. Death may be certain, but certainty is itself a kind of death.

I first met Bob after my very first book reading — more of a talk, really — at the Capitola Book Cafe. He was, of course, one of my psychedelic…


Free-market fanatics, racist bullies, and techno-elites all see nature as a cruel competition

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Does everyone get to be on Team Human? How do we practice social inclusion with those who don’t want to be included?

If we can summon enough of our own humanity to really listen, we’ll find that most of our counterparts are not truly violent or irredeemably mean-spirited. Understanding their fears and then working together toward our common goals is far more constructive than pretending that entire populations have no humanity at all. …


Learn how to listen, and how to represent

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Global relations are forged locally, as well. The most important part of any diplomatic journey is the last foot — the one that brings the two parties face to face. For it is there in the live encounter that potential adversaries are forced to recognize each other’s humanity.

This is the theory of diplomacy that led to the famous Oslo Accords between the warring parties of the Middle East — an agreement that failed only because one of the signatories was assassinated by an extremist among his own people. Such sociopathic behavior is not limited to religious fanatics. …


We are not the users of their network. We *are* the network.

Photo: Susan Q Yin/Unsplash

Before the Internet (yes, I’m that old) “going online” meant calling my friend Phil’s computer from my own. I’d put a phone handset (there were only what we now call “landlines” back then) into a special cradle with two rubber cups — one for the mouthpiece and another for the earpiece. Then I would manually dial the phone number, wait for his computer to pick up and make a tone, and hit a key on my computer to initiate the handshake.

There wasn’t a lot to do. Phil had a few games on there. And there was a folder with…

Douglas Rushkoff

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