are we on a path to a human future?
This isn't just about smartphone addiction. Screens are only going to get better at feeding our impulses, and occupying a greater footprint of our time and attention.
- Next year we will send and receive more messages than last year.
- Next year phones will offer sweeter and tastier choices for what to do with our time.
- Next year's News Feed will only offer more relevant, juicy, compelling reasons to scroll.
- Next year's YouTube recommendations will only be more persuasive.
"What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, […] In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us."
– Neil Postman in Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985)
Never before in history have a handful of people at technology companies shaped how a billion people direct their attention and choices. What should they do?