In 1962, the Food and Drug Administration approved the birth control pill. I would submit that that’s one of the four or five most transformative technological changes of the last millennium. Not just the last century. Because for the first time in the history of the world, half the people on Earth no longer have to depend on the other half for the arc of their lives.
I think the saddest thing is if you ever stop wanting to learn new things. And it can be about anything. That’s just really heartbreaking. I don’t know. It’s just so much part of like who you are as a human to learn new things constantly. And so to not be curious, not want to learn new things and not create new patterns and connections…you’re pretty much giving up your human self.
If the point of making a 10,000-year clock is to get people to think longer term how do you design that experience so that it really does that? And one of the things that we we realized is that people really need to be able to interact with it. That they need to be able to make the moment they visit it their own. So while the clock does keep time all by itself with the temperature difference from day to night, it doesn’t actually update any of the dials, none of the chimes chime, unless someone’s there to wind it.
We know very little about complex financial systems and how systemic risk, as it’s called, is computed and how you would manage policies. And if you look back at the financial crisis, you can either say, as many economists do, “It all had to do with badly-designed rules,” which may be part of the story; it’s certainly part of the story. Or it may have to do with the interaction of those rules and human nature, like mortgage broker greed, optimism… And you see it not just in individuals who now have houses and foreclosure, but at the highest levels.