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  • I got invited to an exclusive resort

  • to deliver a talk about the digital future

  • to what I assumed would be a couple of hundred tech executives.

  • And I was there in the green room, waiting to go on,

  • and instead of bringing me to the stage, they brought five men into the green room

  • who sat around this little table with me.

  • They were tech billionaires.

  • And they started peppering me with these really binary questions,

  • like: Bitcoin or Etherium?

  • Virtual reality or augmented reality?

  • I don't know if they were taking bets or what.

  • And as they got more comfortable with me,

  • they edged towards their real question of concern.

  • Alaska or New Zealand?

  • That's right.

  • These tech billionaires were asking a media theorist for advice

  • on where to put their doomsday bunkers.

  • We spent the rest of the hour on the single question:

  • "How do I maintain control of my security staff

  • after the event?"

  • By "the event" they mean the thermonuclear war

  • or climate catastrophe or social unrest that ends the world as we know it,

  • and more importantly, makes their money obsolete.

  • And I couldn't help but think:

  • these are the wealthiest, most powerful men in the world,

  • yet they see themselves as utterly powerless to influence the future.

  • The best they can do is hang on for the inevitable catastrophe

  • and then use their technology and money to get away from the rest of us.

  • And these are the winners of the digital economy.

  • (Laughter)

  • The digital renaissance

  • was about the unbridled potential

  • of the collective human imagination.

  • It spanned everything from chaos math and quantum physics

  • to fantasy role-playing and the Gaia hypothesis, right?

  • We believed that human beings connected could create any future we could imagine.

  • And then came the dot com boom.

  • And the digital future became stock futures.

  • And we used all that energy of the digital age

  • to pump steroids into the already dying NASDAQ stock exchange.

  • The tech magazines told us a tsunami was coming.

  • And only the investors who hired the best scenario-planners and futurists

  • would be able to survive the wave.

  • And so the future changed from this thing we create together in the present

  • to something we bet on

  • in some kind of a zero-sum winner-takes-all competition.

  • And when things get that competitive about the future,

  • humans are no longer valued for our creativity.

  • No, now we're just valued for our data.

  • Because they can use the data to make predictions.

  • Creativity, if anything, that creates noise.

  • That makes it harder to predict.

  • So we ended up with a digital landscape

  • that really repressed creativity, repressed novelty,

  • it repressed what makes us most human.

  • We ended up with social media.

  • Does social media really connect people in new, interesting ways?

  • No, social media is about using our data to predict our future behavior.

  • Or when necessary, to influence our future behavior

  • so that we act more in accordance with our statistical profiles.

  • The digital economy -- does it like people?

  • No, if you have a business plan, what are you supposed to do?

  • Get rid of all the people.

  • Human beings, they want health care, they want money, they want meaning.

  • You can't scale with people.

  • (Laughter)

  • Even our digital apps --

  • they don't help us form any rapport or solidarity.

  • I mean, where's the button on the ride hailing app

  • for the drivers to talk to one another about their working conditions

  • or to unionize?

  • Even our videoconferencing tools,

  • they don't allow us to establish real rapport.

  • However good the resolution of the video,

  • you still can't see if somebody's irises are opening to really take you in.

  • All of the things that we've done to establish rapport

  • that we've developed over hundreds of thousands of years of evolution,

  • they don't work,

  • you can't see if someone's breath is syncing up with yours.

  • So the mirror neurons never fire, the oxytocin never goes through your body,

  • you never have that experience of bonding with the other human being.

  • And instead, you're left like,

  • "Well, they agreed with me, but did they really,

  • did they really get me?"

  • And we don't blame the technology for that lack of fidelity.

  • We blame the other person.

  • You know, even the technologies and the digital initiatives that we have

  • to promote humans,

  • are intensely anti-human at the core.

  • Think about the blockchain.

  • The blockchain is here to help us have a great humanized economy? No.

  • The blockchain does not engender trust between users,

  • the blockchain simply substitutes for trust in a new,

  • even less transparent way.

  • Or the code movement.

  • I mean, education is great, we love education,

  • and it's a wonderful idea

  • that we want kids to be able to get jobs in the digital future,

  • so we'll teach them code now.

  • But since when is education about getting jobs?

  • Education wasn't about getting jobs.

  • Education was compensation for a job well done.

  • The idea of public education

  • was for coal miners, who would work in the coal mines all day,

  • then they'd come home and they should have the dignity

  • to be able to read a novel and understand it.

  • Or the intelligence to be able to participate in democracy.

  • When we make it an extension of the job, what are we really doing?

  • We're just letting corporations really

  • externalize the cost of training their workers.

  • And the worst of all really is the humane technology movement.

  • I mean, I love these guys, the former guys who used to take

  • the algorithms from Las Vegas slot machines

  • and put them in our social media feed so that we get addicted.

  • Now they've seen the error of their ways

  • and they want to make technology more humane.

  • But when I hear the expression "humane technology,"

  • I think about cage-free chickens or something.

  • We're going to be as humane as possible to them,

  • until we take them to the slaughter.

  • So now they're going to let these technologies be as humane as possible,

  • as long as they extract enough data and extract enough money from us

  • to please their shareholders.

  • Meanwhile, the shareholders, for their part, they're just thinking,

  • "I need to earn enough money now, so I can insulate myself

  • from the world I'm creating by earning money in this way."

  • (Laughter)

  • No matter how many VR goggles they slap on their faces

  • and whatever fantasy world they go into,

  • they can't externalize the slavery and pollution that was caused

  • through the manufacture of the very device.

  • It reminds me of Thomas Jefferson's dumbwaiter.

  • Now, we like to think that he made the dumbwaiter

  • in order to spare his slaves all that labor of carrying the food

  • up to the dining room for the people to eat.

  • That's not what it was for, it wasn't for the slaves,

  • it was for Thomas Jefferson and his dinner guests,

  • so they didn't have to see the slave bringing the food up.

  • The food just arrived magically,

  • like it was coming out of a "Start Trek" replicator.

  • It's part of an ethos that says,

  • human beings are the problem and technology is the solution.

  • We can't think that way anymore.

  • We have to stop using technology to optimize human beings for the market

  • and start optimizing technology for the human future.

  • But that's a really hard argument to make these days,

  • because humans are not popular beings.

  • I talked about this in front of an environmentalist just the other day,

  • and she said, "Why are you defending humans?

  • Humans destroyed the planet. They deserve to go extinct."

  • (Laughter)

  • Even our popular media hates humans.

  • Watch television,

  • all the sci-fi shows are about how robots are better and nicer than people.

  • Even zombie shows -- what is every zombie show about?

  • Some person, looking at the horizon at some zombie going by,

  • and they zoom in on the person and you see the person's face,

  • and you know what they're thinking:

  • "What's really the difference between that zombie and me?

  • He walks, I walk.

  • He eats, I eat.

  • He kills, I kill."

  • But he's a zombie.

  • At least you're aware of it.

  • If we are actually having trouble distinguishing ourselves from zombies,

  • we have a pretty big problem going on.

  • (Laughter)

  • And don't even get me started on the transhumanists.

  • I was on a panel with a transhumanist, and he's going on about the singularity.

  • "Oh, the day is going to come really soon when computers are smarter than people.

  • And the only option for people at that point

  • is to pass the evolutionary torch to our successor

  • and fade into the background.

  • Maybe at best, upload your consciousness to a silicon chip.

  • And accept your extinction."

  • (Laughter)

  • And I said, "No, human beings are special.

  • We can embrace ambiguity, we understand paradox,

  • we're conscious, we're weird, we're quirky.

  • There should be a place for humans in the digital future."

  • And he said, "Oh, Rushkoff,

  • you're just saying that because you're a human."

  • (Laughter)

  • As if it's hubris.

  • OK, I'm on "Team Human."

  • That was the original insight of the digital age.

  • That being human is a team sport,

  • evolution's a collaborative act.

  • Even the trees in the forest,

  • they're not all in competition with each other,

  • they're connected with the vast network of roots and mushrooms

  • that let them communicate with one another and pass nutrients back and forth.

  • If human beings are the most evolved species,

  • it's because we have the most evolved ways of collaborating and communicating.

  • We have language.

  • We have technology.

  • It's funny, I used to be the guy who talked about the digital future

  • for people who hadn't yet experienced anything digital.

  • And now I feel like I'm the last guy

  • who remembers what life was like before digital technology.

  • It's not a matter of rejecting the digital or rejecting the technological.

  • It's a matter of retrieving the values that we're in danger of leaving behind

  • and then embedding them in the digital infrastructure for the future.

  • And that's not rocket science.

  • It's as simple as making a social network

  • that instead of teaching us to see people as adversaries,

  • it teaches us to see our adversaries as people.

  • It means creating an economy that doesn't favor a platform monopoly

  • that wants to extract all the value out of people and places,

  • but one that promotes the circulation of value through a community

  • and allows us to establish platform cooperatives

  • that distribute ownership as wide as possible.

  • It means building platforms

  • that don't repress our creativity and novelty in the name of prediction

  • but actually promote creativity and novelty,

  • so that we can come up with some of the solutions

  • to actually get ourselves out of the mess that we're in.

  • No, instead of trying to earn enough money to insulate ourselves

  • from the world we're creating,

  • why don't we spend that time and energy making the world a place

  • that we don't feel the need to escape from.

  • There is no escape, there is only one thing going on here.

  • Please, don't leave.

  • Join us.

  • We may not be perfect,

  • but whatever happens, at least you won't be alone.

  • Join "Team Human."

  • Find the others.

  • Together, let's make the future that we always wanted.

  • Oh, and those tech billionaires who wanted to know

  • how to maintain control of their security force after the apocalypse,

  • you know what I told them?

  • "Start treating those people with love and respect right now.

  • Maybe you won't have an apocalypse to worry about."

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

I got invited to an exclusive resort

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【TED】How to be "Team Human" in the digital future | Douglas Rushkoff

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    林宜悉   に公開 2019 年 01 月 14 日
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