Logs, Links, Life and Lexicon

Daily Archives: October 31, 2018

One of the touted benefits of iOS 12 is a new feature built into the system: Screen Time.

Screen Time is designed to help you manage the time you spend in front of your mobile device.

I fell for it. I admit.

I believed the hype that is telling us that we are globally out of control—duped by our smart phones.

Here is an example of the pervasive sentiment:

How to use Apple’s new Screen Time and App Limits features in iOS 12
Apple is making it easier than ever to cut back on app overload

We are being sold that we need to cut back on our use of social media and technology. This has become a common belief.

Like I said, I fell for it. I cringe when Screen Time reminds me every week how much time I spend on my mobile devices.

But something just doesn’t feel right to me about the whole idea that technology is bad for you.

Then I stumbled on a book that resonates with how I feel and think about technology and popular culture.

Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter—Steven Johnson

This book has completely changed how I feel about Screen Time. I now revel in the numbers. We will need to change how we think about technology and popular culture—everything we know is wrong.

This is not a new book—2006. So, some of the references are stale, especially in light of what is happening in our culture right now. But if he were to go back and rewrite sections of the book to reflect what is happening now with social media, his case would just be stronger.

The Sleeper Curve

Mr. Johnson introduces the concept of the Sleeper Curve.

The Sleeper Curve: The most debased forms of mass diversion—video games and violent television dramas and juvenile sitcoms—turn out to be nutritional after all. For decades, we’ve worked under the assumption that mass culture follows a steadily declining path towards lowest-common-denominator standards, presumably because the “masses” want dumb, simple pleasures and big media companies want to give the masses what they want. But in fact, the exact opposite is happening: the culture is getting more intellectually demanding, not less.

 

The rest of the book makes the case why the hypothesis has merit.

This works for me on an abundance of levels.

I haven’t made the complete transition yet, but I finally found some language and discussion that is in alignment with how I feel.

AI Will Save the World

There, I said it. We are on the fertile verge of understanding how to use AI to our benefit like never before. To astronomically increase our ability to increase—not just our intellectual intelligence—but our emotional and social intelligence.

People often ask me about the future of AI. Most people believe AI is dangerous and will cause irreparable damage to humanity.

The exact opposite is happening. AI—more specifically AEI—will be a tool humanity uses to increase emotional and social intelligence like we have never imagined.

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