The time is now.

in #technology4 months ago

I was listening to Joe Rogan's most recent episode with Dr. Robert Epstein, one of the episodes that seems to continue getting Mr. Rogan into some hot water (along with the one with Dr. Malone, which I've yet to watch). Overall, a brilliant episode, one that not only touches on a fascinating topic, but also attests Rogan's ability as an entertainer and host (since Dr. Epstein wasn't the easiest of guests). But one thing I particularly loved was something Dr. Epstein said, about the way we think.

Essentially, Rogan asked him where we'll be 20 years from now, if things in this technological dictatorship are so bad now, to which Dr. Epstein replied 20 years from now is now. A point he reinforced toward the end of the episode, saying he's chief concern was our children's present.

When talking about the alarming advancement of technology, we're always using the future tense, largely because it's comforting to think we still have time. The disaster hasn't quite struck us yet, we might still make it.

Well, maybe not.

While surely, things in 20 years will probably be a lot worse than they are now (which, to be fair, was the meaning behind Rogan's question), that's not to say things aren't terrible already. The simple thought that things might get worse isn't saying things aren't bad already. In fact, quite the opposite. After all, if things were going well, and we didn't have any of our technological dangers, there would be no point in thinking how terrible things will be in 2042 (wow, doesn't that number look futuristic af?).

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As @winstonalden was saying on one of his recent posts, gone are the days when humanity thought about the future in terms of progress and advancement. Now, we more or less agree that the future generations are doomed, that the control of certain companies is only going to get bigger and bigger until there's no crumb of autonomy left.

This isn't some conspiracy theory, even mainstreamers agree our increasing dependence on technology is worrying.

So what is to be done?

One thing that I liked about this worrying podcast episode was that this Dr. Epstein also seems to have ideas about what can be done. And they're not unrealistic like quitting social media. While that works for some, practically speaking, you can't build a new business nowadays without social media. Even Joe Rogan would have a hard time reaching his followers if he didn't use social media, and he's the biggest podcaster in the world (and yes, I know about Rogan and Twitter).

Besides, quitting social media apps like Facebook or Twitter is just a small step. It's interesting to note that while everyone is concerned with Mark Zuckerberg, who's an evil, reptilian overlord or whatnot, virtually nobody talks about the CEO of Google, or their intentions of taking over the world.

Isn't that a little strange? Kinda like everyone focuses on Elon Musk, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, yet conveniently overlooks all the other stinking rich people in the world that never ever make it into Forbes.

Maybe something worth thinking about.

So even if you do disable Facebook (many phones, like mine, only give that option. You can no longer uninstall Facebook and Instagram. Well, that's encouraging.), you're not rid of the main problem, which is Google.

But as I was saying, people like Dr. Epstein still think things can be saved. That's what I like about Rogan's "edgier" podcasts, like this one, and also about Jordan Peterson's podcast. While some episodes paint a particularly grim picture of where we are going, they also highlight the many, many great things in our society today. In many ways, we are better than ever, and as most intelligent people know by now nostalgia for "the good old days" is actually heavily biased and significantly unreliable. Besides, going back isn't an option. We can only go forward, and luckily, there are still people concerning themselves on how we can do that the right way.

One thing I find particularly hopeful is that Joe Rogan is, indeed, the biggest podcaster in the world. That's a lot of people who are buckling up for 2+ hr episodes about complex topics. Which means there's a lot of people out there who want the world to get better, who want to learn, and hear, and think. Surely, that's gotta be good.

I've heard several people my age say they will restrict screentime for their kids in their first years of life. Assuming we're talking about the future, that's unrealistic. While it's a good idea now, technology is only advancing more and more. It's unrealistic to assume your child's early years, say, 10 years from now, will look the same as things are right now. Downright dangerous to confuse it for what our own childhoods looked like, 15 years ago.

So what can you do?

Well, you really should read more of what this Dr. Epstein has to say, since he has a far more complex and well-researched view than I do. But personally, I think it's a lot smarter to regulate the way you use the Internet. The browsers you use, the VPNs (or their absence), the websites you visit. I don't think quitting social media is the real answer.
It's the answer to some problems, surely. After all, mine is a generation who model their lives after heavily edited pictures on Instagram. But it's not how we'll solve our larger problems.

I think we need to wean ourselves off of Google, slowly, because there might come a time when the Internet goes down. For a while, or for good, perhaps. And the transition will be a whole lot easier if you're already used to getting information, or doing some things by hand.

And don't think you're safe because you lived in a time when the Internet wasn't a thing. Truth is, we're all addicted to the Internet, young and old. Left or right. It doesn't really matter. Rogan himself was saying he's been on the Internet since sometime during the mid-90s, so roughly 25-27 years? Joe Rogan is, apparently, 54 years old. That's half his life. If you start smoking at 25, and quit in your early 50s, you won't just magically go back to who you were before touching a cigarette. That's not how it works.

So we need to wean ourselves off. How? Well, it depends. Maybe it starts by looking at the things we do online that don't really necessitate us to be online, and trying to quit those.

https://open.spotify.com/episode/4q0cNkAHQQMBTu4NmeNW7E

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This isn't some conspiracy theory, even mainstreamers agree our increasing dependence on technology is worrying.

Mine is not. Nowadays all technology I have is my smartphone (Samsung Galaxy A12), but I could live with it. Of course I would not interact with the Hive blockchain on a daily basis in that case.

I live with multiple disabilities, nowadays under the local minimum wage in Hungary, so I cannot afford a PC/laptop. I bought even this smartphone with my Hive blockchain earnings.

Sometimes I cannot afford even the basic necessities. But it is not a big surprise, if you see the fact that nowadays my total income is approximately only $470 USD per month, and the local minimum wage is approximately $550 USD. And the government intentionally keep most of us under the local minimum wage, so this is financial discrimination.

I hope that the Hive blockchain (or something else) get me out of the financial discrimination.

Have a nice day. All the best. Greetings and much love from Hungary.

To be honest, I wasn't even considering Hive and the blockchain when I wrote this. Maybe that's a dependence, too, but I like it, so it's one that I, too, could live with.

I'm sorry to hear that, truly. I am from neighboring Romania myself, so assuming prices are about the same there, yes, I can see how that's not a lot, at all. To say that it's their goal to keep everyone poor and thus enslaved might sound too much like a conspiracy, so I won't. But I do hope things get better for you :)

I have to listen to this podcast! The future will be a much tougher place to navigate, I think. It will be especially problematic once A.I. gains more of a foothold and deepfakes become more prevalent.

I believe people are leaving centralized social media in droves because they, on some level, realize how the algorithms are coercing and changing them. It's it's an uncomfortable feeling once you realize that your individuality and ability to form independent thoughts are being stolen.

I am beginning to really think about Rogan's take on the future of our evolution. He says, "humanity seems to be the chrysalis that gives birth to the butterfly" (or something to that effect). Rogan believes our endless fascination with technological innovation will give birth to a biological/technological hybrid which will lead to the new branch of our species. I can see this happening, for sure.

With the risk of sounding uncultured, what is a deepfake? :)

I believe people are leaving centralized social media in droves because they, on some level, realize how the algorithms are coercing and changing them.

I hope so. I mean the subject of how social media is (negatively) affecting us has become so mainstream, and that, to me, seems like a good thing, since this information is being marketed to the people who have the hardest time gathering info on their own. So maybe that's saying something.

Rogan believes our endless fascination with technological innovation will give birth to a biological/technological hybrid which will lead to the new branch of our species. I can see this happening, for sure.

Oh yes, most likely. I like how everyone has an opinion about this, with some saying it's good, and some saying it's gonna be really bad. Perhaps so, but that's our natural course of progress. If we were to stop that, it would be ceasing to evolve, and I don't really think that would be beneficial, either. I find something very appealing in the thought that humanity needs to be permitted the freedom to evolve, even if that means evolving towards something monstrous.
Doubt it'll seem so appealing once it's before our own eyes, but still..

Deep fakes are probably on the top of the list of terrifying inventions that we are just on the cusp of experiencing. It will literally be impossible to determine what is real and what isn't on video in 1-2 years. They will be an incredibly effective tool to spread panic, chaos, and disinformation. I just don't know how humanity will identify and combat them but our species is incredibly resilient.

I do think this is the evolutionary direction we are heading. There will be two camps, one that accepts the "upgrades" and one that refuses them. I think the two branches of humanity will eventually have to live in nearly separate societies for a number of reasons.

Oh my god, I was just thinking about them, then. Someone showed me this app (?) where you talk to an AI but it's like a real chatting app, and the robot pretends to be normal, and you text it when you're bored or curious or whatever. It seemed so messed up. When you add that to these deep fakes, it's the stuff of nightmares.
It's weird, in itself, to think that once, this sort of thing would've been so promising and exciting. Now, we automatically assume the worst (and rightfully so) - what does that say about us?

I think the two branches of humanity will eventually have to live in nearly separate societies for a number of reasons.

Now there's an idea for a good dystopian novel, my friend ;) (which is not to say it's not very likely to also happen IRL)

Wow, I didn't realize there was already an app that incorporated some of this. The near future is definitely going to be a much different place. There will be some good and some bad in it, like all tech it'll be a great for pretty much everything but our privacy, individuality, and freedom. We'll look back at our current time with nostalgia.

A story surrounding these two branches of humanity would make a pretty good streaming series, wouldn't it? Modern day Luddites and cyborgs. I can imagine some of the Borgs will envy the freedoms the Luddites have but the Borgs will have so many advantages it's difficult to even comprehend.

I used to be big on quitting things. No drinking! No smoking! No Facebook! Now I don't think that's so healthy either. You're making the thing you don't want to do the center of your attention. You're fetishizing it.

I think it's better to find something else you'd rather do, and then focus your attention on that. Eventually the thing you're trying to quit won't seem so big and important any more.

It certainly feels like we're falling out of love with social media--at least the high velocity, data gathering, dopamine-hit kind. But what can we pour our energy and attention into that might be better?

I mean, Hive seems like a good start, doesn't it?

There is some fiction in your truth
and some truth to your fiction.

Oh definitely. You meet all sorts of people who make it into this whole big thing. "Oh I'm not on social media", and then point this out at every opportunity. Like it equals who they are. Strange.

Ha, it's funny you should mention that. @anomadsoul had a post (fairly) recently about how his break from Hive generated much the same anxiety as being away from traditional social media. That being said, the two aren't on the same level at all. Since interaction here is genuine and insightful, yes, it seems like the better option of the two, by far.

I do believe that we have to reconnect with the core life skills we have lost/traded in place of convenience. Relying on the system and all that it can offer will only be to our detriment, because in the end man we lose touch of what life is about....and it damn isn't about being connected to the digital grid, to the metaverse, to social media and the digital world.

It's in life and all it's glory.

I agree completely. Seems only a few short years ago that off-griders were considered extremists and loonies (Not by myself, but still). It seems like, with each day that passes, they're revealed more to have had it right all along.