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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

Yes, It’s Really Okay to Reduce Our Exposure to the Global Info Onslaught

Photo by Jan Canty on Unsplash

Thanks to recent flooding in my part of the country, I’ve been too busy digging myself and my neighbors out of the mud to watch the news or scroll through Twitter. Not surprisingly, I am better for it.

Somehow, even without the benefit of either Glenn Greenwald’s tweets or Rachel Maddow’s rants, I’m still aware of what’s going on in the world. I get the newspaper on my doorstep, and email headlines in my inbox. I know about climate change, the California governor recall election, and the new citizen-informant system in Texas for people to turn in neighbors who try…

Extreme weather may help remind humans of their place in the bigger scheme of things

Photo: Audun Bakke Andersen/Getty Images

Like many north easterners, I’m still digging myself out from the destruction of Hurricane Ida — or, as my insurance company reminds me—“tropical depression” Ida, which is not eligible for a claim on my special “hurricane extension.” Although I lost some precious archives (letters from Timothy Leary, the first dozen Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comics, newspapers saved from the JFK assassination, moon landing, and Nixon resignation) the real damage was light. My finished basement is now, well, finished in another way.

But the waves of muddy water that took out my home office did a whole lot worse to many…

Retrieving the great, big, migratory meta-community of digital nomads

Photo: Jyotirmoy Gupta/Unsplash

One of things I really loved about the early net was how open and free it felt. Before the internet was even the internet, Al Gore was talking about the possibility of an “information superhighway” connecting educators and researchers with one another as well as one another’s work. We never thought in terms of destinations. It was more about the journey, the search, and the connections.

The “places” online, if you could even call them that, were just repositories of files. One of the first times I was on the net, I was looking for some song lyrics. I did…

How to make the next generation of bankers better than today’s

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I took a bit of heat last week for suggesting that the blockchain movement may have gone largely off course. Some asked: What about NFTs? Or the decentralized autonomous corporations? Aren’t Bitcoin and Ethereum doing all sorts of great things?

Yes, they are. But I’m not sure those good things are the primary concern of the majority of people involved with these tokens, or that they represent a substantial enough portion of the activity and impact of blockchains, so far, on the greater economy.

It’s hard to tell the whole story of bitcoin, its successes, and its failures in a…

The technology is fine, but its speculative bias reveals something sad about our relationship with money

Photo: Bermix Studio/Unsplash

As those of us who were around will remember, Bitcoin emerged out of the same spirit as Occupy Wall Street. Those of us holding seminars about economic power in Zuccotti Park were thrilled by the possibility of a decentralized currency that could be authenticated in a peer-to-peer fashion instead of by some big bank. Bitcoin would break the monopoly of the Federal Reserve. And the love affair went both ways. Early Bitcoin enthusiasts made crypto donations to Occupy while many Occupiers lauded Bitcoin as an alternative to bank-issued central currency.

Bitcoin was thought to have two main advantages over traditional…

Epidemiologists are stuck in a real-time feedback loop with public health

Photo: Jennifer Griffin/Unsplash

I’ve been reading the critique. Everyone seems to hate the CDC these days. After telling vaccinated people in May that we can go maskless, they reversed course last week, instructing everyone to mask up wherever the virus is spreading rapidly.

One day, we’re told we’re almost completely immune to the virus, and the next we find out the “new” variant (really a few months old) actually spreads among immunized people as readily as chicken pox. At the same time, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, tells us the only real reason for vaccinated people to wear masks is to protect the…

A modest proposal for connecting the dots

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I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the misinformation campaigns driving vaccine refusal in America, and how to blunt or perhaps even “tweak” their impact. It’s hard, because a lot of it is just plain wacky. Many of the scenarios are compellingly dramatic, but don’t make logical sense. Still, if we put all these narratives in an even bigger conspiratorial context, we start to get some interesting possibilities.

We need to ask the meta-questions: who is being targeted by these stories and who stands to benefit if these people are sick or dead?

By themselves, the various conspiracies don’t…

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

Artur Debat / Getty Images

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

Photo: Ludovic Toinel/Unsplash

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…

Douglas Rushkoff

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