Note — Jun 20, 2021

One Billion Seconds From Now

Seen in → No.178

Source →

Michael Szul noticed that the billion seconds timeframe (roughly 30 years) has been popping up in more and more places and looks at how it’s used, why it works, and how it can be a good frame for speculation.

However, perhaps the most useful part for me, is when he considers the two halves of Generation X, the younger ones who “matured with the Internet,” and the older (like me) who’s “careers matured with the Internet.” The latter “look at technology through the lens of cultural affect [and] see technology as a fast moving catalyst in the primordial soup of cultural progress, societal change, and philosophical evolution.” It’s an intriguing, and I think correct, separation which could prove useful in understanding various conversations around big tech, one might also revisit Future myopia which also included the views of old Gen Xers.

Those that look at technology through the lens of business analysis and those that look at technology through the lens of cultural affect. […]

Autonomous technologies, runaway markets and weaponized media seem to have overturned civil society, paralyzing our ability to think constructively, connect meaningfully, or act purposefully. It feels as if civilization itself were on the brink, and that we lack the collective willpower and coordination necessary to address issues of vital importance to the very survival of our species. […]

For decades those looking to escape the time-trap of modern capitalism and cultural oppression have had difficulty organizing, and when we finally do and produce a media virus worthy of shifting thought on a topic, it seems that marketing and advertising successfully co-op that message and twist it for commercial revenue, taking what was once the "counterculture," hollowing it out, and reselling it like a mortgage backed security.