We Still Haven’t Reached the Best Part of the Trip

How Team Human can retrieve the true promise of the digital renaissance.

Douglas Rushkoff

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Photo by Vlad Hilitanu on Unsplash

I just got done with a talk for a college about how we squandered the possibilities for a networked society by focusing on IP in the cloud rather than the people with whom we were connecting. Afterwards, during the Q&A, a student wanted to know why I was so pessimistic about the digital future. I was a bit surprised. Because while I do think we screwed things up, I wouldn’t still be writing and speaking and podcasting and Zooming if I didn’t believe we can still turn this all around.

I’m no pessimist. I’m usually accused of the opposite. I was one of the first to celebrate how the digital renaissance could unleash the wild potentials of the collective human imagination. This renaissance included everything from the chaos math and quantum physics to fantasy role-playing and the Gaia hypothesis. We believed that human beings, connected as never before, could create any future we wanted. The internet would do for humanity what LSD did for the individual.

But then Wired magazine and Wall Street speculators came long, and reframed the Internet as a business opportunity. They called it the Long Boom. Thanks to digital technology, they said, the economy would now grow exponentially. Forever.

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Douglas Rushkoff

Author of Survival of the Richest, Team Human, Program or Be Programmed, and host of the Team Human podcast http://teamhuman.fm