books, economics, education, ethics, government, happiness, human rights, internet

The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly

Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future

The Inevitable is a 2016 nonfiction book by Kevin Kelly that forecasts the twelve technological forces that will shape the next thirty years:

  1. Becoming: Moving from fixed products to always upgrading services and subscriptions
  2. Cognifying: Making everything much smarter using cheap powerful AI that we get from the cloud
  3. Flowing: Depending on unstoppable streams in real time for everything
  4. Screening: Turning all surfaces into screens
  5. Accessing: Shifting society from one where we own assets to one where instead we will have access to services at all times.
  6. Sharing: Collaboration at mass scale. Kelly writes, “On my imaginary Sharing Meter Index we are still at 2 out of 10.”
  7. Filtering: Harnessing intense personalization in order to anticipate our desires
  8. Remixing: Unbundling existing products into their most primitive parts and then recombining in all possible ways
  9. Interacting: Immersing ourselves inside our computers to maximize their engagement
  10. Tracking: Employing total surveillance for the benefit of citizens and consumers
  11. Questioning: Promoting good questions is far more valuable than good answers
  12. Beginning: Constructing a planetary system connecting all humans and machines into a global matrix

Though it might sound scary, the book is surprisingly upbeat and optimistic about the future.

Kevin Kelly (born 1952) is the founding executive editor of Wired magazine, and a former editor/publisher of the Whole Earth Review.

Amazon

 

books, happiness, human rights, internet

Radicalized by Cory Doctorow

Radicalized is a collection of 4 novellas released on March 19, 2019 as a reaction to Trump government chaos.

The issues discussed are very current.

It’s one of the books contending in the Canada Reads 2020 contest.  I’m slightly surprised at that as one of the four is a rant against the American non-health care system.

I recommend it IF you are interested in these themes:

… explores such issues as digital rights management, police brutality, radicalization in internet communities, and doomsday preppers. …

… American medical care, immigration, white male rage and technological monopolies …

Those who did not like the book consider it too preachy.

I quite liked the first story, Unauthorized BreadA refugee, Salima, confronts the software controlling installed in her kitchen appliances after the companies who created those appliances suddenly cease operations.

Cory Doctorow is one of the Tech gurus I’ve been following as long as I’ve been following Boing Boing, which won the Bloggies for Weblog of the Year, in 2004 and 2005.  The web version launched January 2000, a “directory of wonderful things“.

In February 2020, Cory Doctorow left Boing Boing to start Pluralistic.net, a blog that brands itself as having “No trackers, no ads.”  Of course I’m now following it too.

Cory is an activist in favour of liberalising copyright laws and a proponent of the Creative Commons organization, using some of their licences for his books. Some common themes of his work include digital rights management, file sharing, and post-scarcity economics.

 

education, ethics, government, happiness, things getting better

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

20-year old Taylor Wilson wrote the best article I’ve read so far on the 2020 Black Lives Matters protests.

Racism is housing discrimination, food inequity, mass incarceration, underfunded schools, unequal access to sport, over-policing, voter disenfranchisement, the war on drugs, hiring discrimination, unequal access to healthcare, and a flawed criminal justice system that far too often lets officers go unchecked for abusing their power. 

I am tired of seeing Black people beaten and murdered by police. I am deeply disturbed by the lack of accountability for police officers who so blatantly cause harm, shielded by a blue wall of silence that seems impenetrable by the justice system. …

Dr. King – “I Have a Dream”

Almost 56 years after the Civil Rights Act was signed, and Black people are STILL fighting for equal protection under the law and the genuine right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. …

Enough is enough. “Thoughts and prayers” is no longer a sufficient response …

Denounce racism when it’s not convenient for you. In rooms where there are no Black people. … In every space, especially those in which you hold a position of power or influence, leverage your privilege. Do not stay silent. Be explicitly anti-racist and hold others accountable for their words and actions. …

If reading this made you uncomfortable, good

Get comfortable being uncomfortable because I promise you, this is just the beginning.

Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

about Rick, ethics, government, happiness, human rights, science

I’m a Humanist

Author Yuval Noah Harari would say my religion is Humanism.

My bible the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The first Humanist Manifesto was issued by a conference held at the University of Chicago in 1933.

Signatories included the philosopher John Dewey, but the majority were ministers (chiefly Unitarian) and theologians.

They identified humanism as an ideology that espouses reasonethics, and social and economic justice, and they called for science to replace dogma and the supernatural as the basis of morality and decision-making.

So far, so good.

In 1941, the American Humanist Association was organised. Noted members of The AHA included Isaac Asimov, who was the president from 1985 until his death in 1992, and writer Kurt Vonnegut, who followed as honorary president until his death in 2007.

They advocate in Washington, D.C., for separation of church and state.

There is a sub-set called secular humanism that consciously rejects supernatural and religiosity.

I wouldn’t go that far, myself.

But I do believe strongly in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

 

 

books, economics, education, ethics, government, happiness, human rights, philosophy

Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari

I really enjoyed these 3 books by Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari.

Like Bill Bryson, he can make academic subjects interesting and lively

Critics call it sensationalist infotainment.

He is a simplifier. I like his frequent analogies to well known references.

There are endless interesting factoids.

Critics complain he gets some facts wrong by over-simplifying.

In Sapiens he postulates that humans now rule the earth because of our ability to organize and coordinate in large numbers.

Bees, ants and other species cooperates even better, but they are too inflexible to evolve. And have comparatively small numbers.

We are the only animal that can believe in things that exist purely in our imagination, such as gods, states, money, human rights, corporations and other fictions, and we have developed a unique ability to use these stories to unify and organize groups and ensure cooperation.

TED

He feels humans will continue to evolve, likely into some computer / human hybrid.

Click PLAY or watch his TED Talk on the topic on YouTube. (17min)

books, ethics, government, happiness, human rights, Islam, philosophy

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Harari

Having dealt with the distant past in Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (2011) and with the distant future in Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow (2016), Harari turns in 21 Lessons his attention to the present.

I really enjoyed this book. Harari is a BIG PICTURE guy who quickly puts things into perspective.

His chapter on God is excellent, for example.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century (2018)by Yuval Noah Harari … attempts to untangle the technological, political, social, and existential quandaries that humankind faces. …

In The New York TimesBill Gates calls the book “fascinating” and his author “such a stimulating writer that even when I disagreed, I wanted to keep reading and thinking.” For Gates, Harari “has teed up a crucial global conversation about how to take on the problems of the 21st century.”


related 2020 interview:

Yuval Harari: This is the worst epidemic in ‘at least 100 years’

cycling, happiness, health & fitness, hiking, travel

my 2019 YEAR in REVIEW

Tim Ferriss recommends we review the past year (which was GREAT) before making any plans for the next.

I want to be a #winner in 2020. Like this guy.

1. What were three to four highs of last year … and three to four lows?

23 day cycling tour of Patagonia

24 day cycling tour of the Pacific N.W. 

30 days in Nepal – hiking and dental work

first visits to Prague and Budapest

So … travel, hiking and cycling remain my annual highlights.

I can’t recall any significant lows. I broke two laptops. Got stuck in Hungary without an exit visa. Ruined a pair of shoes. Nothing significant.

2. What enabled or motivated you to reach those highs, and how did you successfully move through the lows?

For travel I was more organized than in the past. Put together detailed gear lists. Made my plans months ahead rather than weeks or days in advance.

3. What worked and didn’t work? In other words, what do you need to do more or less of?

More of the same. Get organized early for my travels in 2020.

I spent more than I earned in 2019. I should work more, play less in 2020.

I did not ski enough in 2019. My goal is at least 5 days downhill.

4. What stressed you out the most, and how could you navigate it better?

Bicycle maintenance stresses me out. I’ve now downloaded The Complete Bike Owner’s Manual to my laptop and phone.

My only medical concern is high blood pressure.  Need to monitor that more consistently.

I follow the high crimes and misdemeanours of Trump. The world seems to be getting worse, not better. … BUT my own life is unaffected. I don’t worry about an unexpected health care emergency as so many Americans do.

5. And, most important, what were you most grateful for in 2019, and how can you take that into 2020?

Good health. Myself and my family.

I ran more in 2019 than I have since at least 2008. Should run an hour a day  at least 45 days of 2020.  Enter at least 3 races in 2020.

related – How (and why) you should give yourself a year-end review

running race Pokhara, Nepal
books, economics, happiness, health & fitness, philosophy, travel

The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

I’m not much into self-help books.

But many people I admire follow Tim Ferriss. I finally got around to starting his classic book …

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9–5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich 

The evangelizing rah-rah turns me off … as does the focus on money while claiming not to care about money.

On the other hand, Ferriss does have some very good ideas. For example:

  • take more and longer vacations while young enough to enjoy them
  • work from inexpensive foreign nations, if you can, while earning hard currency
  • focus on strengths, instead of trying to fix weaknesses
  • Rid Yourself of Material Possessions
  • Sometimes Less Is More

Here’s my buddy Josh. He’s a digital nomad working online from a series of inexpensive nations — most recently Guatemala, Nepal and Vietnam.

related – my own philosophy of Voluntary Simplicity