BEVERLY HILLS— Here, anything that is necessary is, by definition, low class. The real marker of too much wealth is a silent arms race of collecting unnecessary things. The women of Beverly Hills must only leave the house in boots, though the chance of encountering a loose rock or mud pit on Brighton Way is low. And those boots must be slouchy and soft, robbed of any pretense of usefulness by their very design. Sunglasses, heels, men’s watches, and SUVs must be unnecessarily large. Sports cars must be unnecessarily fast. Public spaces must be bedecked with unnecessary topiary. Sensible building materials must be replaced with unnecessarily luxurious ones. Most flat surfaces should be marble.
“Every drama in your outer life is a reflection of a drama in your inner life. Every person you are interacting with in your outer life symbolizes an interaction of energy that is going on within you. Every person and event offers you an opportunity to clean up your energy, to evolve yourself, and to move higher. Another person cannot hurt you unless you are hurting yourself. You cannot be betrayed, undervalued, or unloved unless you are doing it to yourself by not valuing and loving yourself.”—Orin (via we-are-meant-to-thrive)
If you’re young and poor, today’s new Pew Center survey has bad news and good news. The bad news: you’re economically devastated. “[Since] 2010, the share of young adults ages 18 to 24 currently employed (54%) has been its lowest since the government began collecting these data in 1948.
What psychological twisting will occur to individuals as they adapt to more frequent and necessary interactions with modified humans, autonomous machines, and the spectrum of organisms in between? Will each generation be better suited to the situation than the previous by being born into the calm eye of the hurricane of cultural change?
Humans have fairly common physiological and psychological development stages during childhood. But even that will change with the options of intelligence amplification and more effective ways to learn (and teach). Perhaps some of the new ways to interface with other people (be they mostly natural or mostly artificial) and the environment will enable better and faster learning.
We should be prepared, not repulsed, by a future populated by crossbreeds of humans, animals, robots, and everything in between. Some will be virtual. Some of the more extremely changed people (posthumans) may not even be recognizable by others as human.
This strange new network of organisms will require a lot of strange new interfaces. But are interfaces enough to smooth out this potential mass confusion of identity and origins? At the very least, people need to communicate with other people and control their tools and environments. Still, if too many things change and new beings are created so fast that the “world spins” every year, how will people keep up? Will this be a constant state of emergency, in which the slow and frail are trampled?
Interfaces can enable chaos and conflict. Simultaneously, interfaces enable efficiency and understanding. An interface-oriented point of view is necessary to advance our world with robotics.
When asked by his interviewer if memory isn’t also a form of baggage, a conduit for suffering or a handicap, Foer responded with two stories. The first is about a man who lost his memory and his ability to form new memories, which made him less human in a way, because “to be a…