Browsing through news articles, two parallel worlds of millennials emerge. The first is inhabited by overtly political youth advocating for controversial initiatives like campus safe spaces. The second is filled with young consumers who are happy and prosperous yet prefer style over stuff–which, upon closer examination, is a euphemistic way of saying they cannot afford to buy much stuff anyway.
With all the confusion over and misrepresentations of younger generations, is it worth trying to define them at all? If recent events are any indication, the answer is yes—if defined correctly.
The inability of older generations to see how the economy has been fundamentally restructured since the Great Recession leads to short-sighted policies that young people, not boomers, will have to live with in the long run.
Source: The myth of millennial entitlement was created to hide their parents’ mistakes — Quartz
What struck me about the idea was that there was a way to focus sound. It was a piece of mesh of some sort, which acted as a lens for ultrasonics. … Imagine using such lenses to focus sound onto a plane of microphones. Just like light in a camera. One microphone is one pixel. An ability to see sound.
Source: The Daredevil Camera
Fears of civilization-wide idleness are based too much on the downsides of being unemployed in a society premised on the concept of employment.
Source: Would a Work-Free World Be So Bad? – The Atlantic
Approaching the world as a software problem is a category error that has led us into some terrible habits of mind.
We obsess over these fake problems while creating some real ones. In our attempt to feed the world to software, techies have built the greatest surveillance apparatus the world has ever seen. … Just like industrialized manufacturing changed the relationship between labor and capital, surveillance capitalism is changing the relationship between private citizens and the entities doing the tracking. Our old ideas about individual privacy and consent no longer hold in a world where personal data is harvested on an industrial scale.
We tend to imagine dystopian scenarios as one where a repressive government uses technology against its people. But what scares me in these scenarios is that each one would have broad social support, possibly majority support. Democratic societies sometimes adopt terrible policies.
The goal should be not to make the apparatus of surveillance politically accountable (though that is a great goal), but to dismantle it. Just like we don’t let countries build reactors that produce plutonium, no matter how sincere their promises not to misuse it, we should not allow people to create and indefinitely store databases of personal information. The risks are too high.
Source: Remarks at the SASE Panel On The Moral Economy of Tech
In this case, people only started to believe in reality when they faced the consequences–the equivalent of deciding to study for an examine only after you’ve failed it.
Voters’ confusion about the consequences of their actions is indicative of a larger trend.
In some ways, our minds have become materially conditioned to mindless actions—things that can be deleted or edited or ignored.
Source: Brexit is what happens when our digital lives seem more “real” to us than our real ones — Quartz