The Paradox of Universal Basic Income: must-read by Joi Ito

“That would be applauded by libertarians and some conservatives, but not by many others.

Underpinning the Silicon Valley argument for UBI is the belief in exponential growth powered by science and technology, as described by Peter Diamandis in his book Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think. Diamandis contends that technological progress, including gains in health, the power of computing, and the development of machine intelligence, among other things, will lead to a kind of technological transcendence that makes today’s society look like how we view the Dark Ages. He argues that the human mind is unable to intuitively grasp this idea, and so we constantly underestimate long-term effects. If you plot progress out a few decades, Diamandis writes, we end up with unimaginable abundance: “We will soon have the ability to meet and exceed the basic needs of every man, woman, and child on the planet. Abundance for all is within our grasp.” (Technologists often forget is that we actually already have enough food to feed the world; the problem is that it’s just not properly distributed.)

Many tech billionaires think they can have their cake and eat it too, that they are so rich and smart the trickle-down theory can lift the poor out of poverty without anyone or anything suffering. And why shouldn’t they think so? Their companies and their wealth have grown exponentially, and it doesn’t appear as though there is any end in sight, as Marc Andreessen prophetically predicted in his famous essay, “Why Software is Eating the World.” Most of Silicon Valley’s leaders gained their wealth in an exponentially growing market without having to engage in the aggressive tactics that marked the creation of wealth in the past. They feel their businesses inherently “do good,” and that, I believe, allows them to feel more charitable, broadly speaking.”

The Paradox of Universal Basic Income
https://www.wired.com/story/the-paradox-of-universal-basic-income/
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The Tyranny of Convenience - made me think

“In the developed nations of the 21st century, convenience — that is, more efficient and easier ways of doing personal tasks — has emerged as perhaps the most powerful force shaping our individual lives and our economies. This is particularly true in America, where, despite all the paeans to freedom and individuality, one sometimes wonders whether convenience is in fact the supreme value.

As Evan Williams, a co-founder of Twitter, recently put it, “Convenience decides everything.” Convenience seems to make our decisions for us, trumping what we like to imagine are our true preferences. (I prefer to brew my coffee, but Starbucks instant is so convenient I hardly ever do what I “prefer.”) Easy is better, easiest is best.”

Opinion | The Tyranny of Convenience
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/16/opinion/sunday/tyranny-convenience.html
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From dopamine to serotonin - good post about happiness - by Humberto Schwab

“According to Robert Lustig, there has been a fundamental error or even a system fallacy in the way the Americans understand the “pursuit of happiness.” A philosophical principle that was firmly established by Jefferson.

We can see that happiness has been mixed up with pleasure. People got the toxic message that happiness can be bought, exchanging pleasure for happiness. The fast-food industry explicitly stresses that you can buy ”happiness.” Also on the internet and in the daily language, we see a complete confusion of these fundamentally different concepts.”

From dopamine to serotonin
http://www.socraticdesignacademy.com/2018/01/16/from-dopamine-to-serotonin/
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Resisting Reduction: A Manifesto, via Joi Ito

“Developing a sensibility and a culture of flourishing, and embracing a diverse array of measures of “success” depend less on the accumulation of power and resources and more on diversity and the richness of experience. This is the paradigm shift that we need. This will provide us with a wealth of technological and cultural patterns to draw from to create a highly adaptable society. This diversity also allows the elements of the system to feed each other without the exploitation and extraction ethos created by a monoculture with a single currency. It is likely that this new culture will spread as music, fashion, spirituality or other forms of art.”

Collaborate · Resisting Reduction: A Manifesto
https://pubpub.ito.com/pub/resisting-reduction/collaborate
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How to Fix Facebook? 9 Experts

“Facebook should become a public benefit corporation. These companies must aim to do something that would aid the public, and board members must also take that public benefit into account when making decisions. Mark Zuckerberg has said that Facebook’s goals are “bringing us closer together” and “building a global community.” Worthy, beautiful goals, but easier said than done when Facebook is also stuck delivering ever-increasing profits and making its platform serve the needs of advertisers.

What if Facebook were actually free to do what it says it wants to? What if it didn’t need to devote so much energy to the evil sides of the business, whether catering to filter bubbles, addicting and manipulating users, seizing data, bending over backward for advertisers and destroying competitors?”

How to Fix Facebook? We Asked 9 Experts
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/31/technology/how-to-fix-facebook-we-asked-9-experts.html
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In our focus on the digital, have we lost our sense of what being human means?great post by Genevieve Bell

“We will need new practitioners to tame and manage the emerging data-driven digital world, as well as those to regulate and govern them. Rather than just tweaking existing disciplines, we need to develop a new set of critical questions and perspectives. Working out how to navigate our humanity in the context of this data-driven digital world requires conversations across the disciplines. In the university sector, we need to rethink how we fund, support and reward research, and researchers. At a funding level, our privileging of Stem at the expense of the rest of the disciplines is short-sighted at best, and detrimental at worst.

Invest in the human-scale conversation

We need to invest in hard conversations that tackle the ethics, morality and underlying cultural philosophy of these new digital technologies in Australian lives. Do we need an institute or a consortium or a governmental thinktank? I am not sure, but I think it would be a good start. We have a great deal of concern about our future and the role of technology in it. We have a responsibility to tell more nuanced, and yes, more complicated stories – governments, NGOs, industry, news media, every one of us. We also have a responsibility to ask better questions ourselves. We should be educated stakeholders in our own future; and this requires work and willingness to get past the easy seduction of killer robots.”

In our focus on the digital, have we lost our sense of what being human means? | Genevieve Bell
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/24/in-our-focus-on-the-digital-have-we-lost-our-sense-of-what-being-human-means
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The Rise of the Thought Leader. ... very good critical read

“The evidence in Drezner’s book contributes to a startling picture of a country in which the superrich actively seek to sabotage institutions that have formed the backbone of consensus and public trust for a large part of the twentieth century. Because their wealth comes largely from finance and is no longer attached to the country’s material infrastructure—they are not steel magnates or railroad barons—modern plutocrats no longer use their fortunes to secure a legacy of contributing to public needs. Instead they weaponize their wealth, with the aim of creating even more capital and remaking society according to their own, unrepresentative political beliefs. “Only 35 percent of wealthy Americans support spending what is necessary to ensure good public schools,” Drezner notes, “a sharp contrast to 87-percent support from the general public.” The wealthy also support cuts to government spending and social programs much more strongly than the rest of the public—which fits with their compulsion to spend millions on trying to buy academic legitimacy for unregulated capitalism.”

The Rise of the Thought Leader
https://newrepublic.com/article/143004/rise-thought-leader-how-superrich-funded-new-class-intellectual
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