Upskilling!
Iskra Johnson
102

I love that you reference Leaping Poetry! That’s one of my all-time favorite books.

But to the substance of your post — yes, I agree that we need to think about all those things. And I’ve written about some of them in previous posts. See, for example, Workers in a World of Continuous Partial Employment.

I also published one of the first (and still, I think, one of the best) of the many technological critiques of the internet era, Steve Talbott’s The Future Does Not Compute. (Full text here.) So I’m with you on this!

But I’m not sure I agree with the specifics of your answers. Take memory. Before the advent of literacy, people memorized all kinds of things that would be impossible for almost anyone today. Was literacy a bad thing?

Did you ever read “Yali’s Question,” the preface to Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel? The question, from someone in New Guinea, went something like this: “How come you guys have all the stuff? You’re so stupid. If I left you in the jungle for a few days, you’d be dead.”

We make tradeoffs as a society.

I see a lot of bad tradeoffs. But overall, I think it’s a mistake to pin those tradeoffs on technology itself, rather than on the personal and social mechanisms we use to govern the use of that technology.

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