I would say a better place looks like…having dinner with the person who lives next door to you. Knowing who they are. A better place is sharing the same snowblower on your block. The better place is easiest to imagine, and ultimately get to, if we look at it in terms of our incremental moment-to-moment choices.
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My thinking is how do we design systems that provide for every aspect of our humanity? How do we design a city that cares for all of our needs? You know it’s not just thinking about shelter, but it’s thinking about our food and our air and so, obviously the types of industry we have are very different, because we have to make sure that our air and our water is clean. And that our food is readily available, and that we have spaces for contemplation and reflection. And that we have places for communing with each other.
I like to think that we are an intelligent species. I mean, actually the people that often get this most quickly are the people who are poorest, because they know the system doesn’t work. But so many of our supposedly brightest people pick this up and don’t question it. And then we have the all the whole field of economics, which is an ideology built on assumptions that if you examine them are absurd. Because you know, economists simply look at the economy as a pricing system. They’re not system thinkers. Part of the cause our crisis is that we’re not educated to think in terms of systems.
From vast data centers to mobile phones, the power of computers continues to transform our lives. But there are some problems across artificial intelligence, in the design of new materials, pharmaceuticals, and clean energy devices that they will simply never solve. So even if we turned our entire planet into a giant supercomputer we wouldn’t be able to solve these and many other important problems. The good news is that if we could build a computing device based on fundamental quantum principles, we could.
Historically, there have been all of these moments, moments of social turmoil where people have come together and they have questioned a lot of the common sense of their eras and they’ve torn it to bits. And the result has been kind of…truths, like new truths that become common sense later.
So the kind of technologies that get made are not necessarily very exciting. It’s something that [Alexis] Madrigal of The Atlantic said, these technologies that are coming out of these startups, they’re nice, they’re cheap, they’re fun. And they’re about as world-changing as another variation of beer pong. This is not big, radical change.
Food has always been tightly intertwined with culture and identity. As a result, it’s also been a common target of colonialism. Colonizers understood that by wiping out people’s food traditions, it would be easier to wipe out their origins, their identity, and their history. This kind of trend isn’t only in the past, though. In many areas of the world, dietary habits are changing, food inequality is rife, and somehow both obesity and hunger are on the rise on a global scale.