Civilization is falling apart?

Junk found on the beach
Photo by John Cameron on Unsplash

I like a lot of what Umair Haque writes but this one titled 2020 is a Warning That Our Civilization is Beginning to Fall Apart. I will be frank is pretty terrifying. I say terrifying not from a fear point of view although its pretty scary for that. Almost all the points Umair makes, I find it very difficult to counter them in any reasonable way.

Are you beginning to get what I mean by “accelerating pulsation of disaster” yet? As we head into the age of catastrophe, a new range of calamities will become our dismal new normal. They’ll recur, in cycles. Only each time the cycle spins, they’ll get worse and worse. Megafires, megafloods, pandemics, extinctions.

His lasting point is strong and draws lot for us to think/reflect on.

Its extremely sobering to read and worth it even if it doesn’t offer any strong solutions

The status quo is gone and its not coming back

Flattern the curve of health careI tooted/tweeted a few days ago…

We live in incredible times…
#COVID19uk

There is a lot of panic & uncertainty at the moment with the global pandemic of Covid-19.  But there is also a number of opportunities which are fundamentally changing our society, some good and some bad. To me its clear the status quo is gone, there is no way we can go back to the way we use to live (just like world wars). Simple things like our use of remote working is going to shape culture, society, human existence going forward; that is clear!

There’s been more chatter about universal basic income, but with a stronger emphases considering the huge numbers of people on low income, in the gig economy and self employed; hit hard trying to manage with the chaos. This could be the trigger for it to happen, at least in the short term.

Physical distancing and self isolation has forced those who scoffed at virtual connections into rethinking their position. People are understanding physical distancing is similar to a long distance relationship and similar lessons apply with social distancing. We are learning a lot more about each other, likely more than we do in the workplace. The idea of bring your authentic self to work applies even more when someone is looking through a webcam into your living room; mess, pets, family members and all.

Videoconf-whoopsie

The uptake of video conferencing has been huge and our reliance on the internet has been truly cemented with groups of people who used it ad-hoc finally embracing it out of necessity. Its actually become the number one way and this could have positive effects for the environment.

Online food delivery has really come into its own. On top of this contactless payments has really come into their own with cash being rejected for health reasons (yes I am very aware of the problems with cashless services however its a powerful counter point looking at the public health angle). Maybe this might finally convince America about the merits of a public health system? Ok thats not going to happen but now would be a very good time for it. Especially with so many americans just one pay cheque from poverty.

Our encroachment on nature urgently needs to change but we may have left it too late. Its clear the impact we made on the environment is biting back longer and harder. There are many who have suggested we are due a pandemic but are we ready for more of them one after another? Its also worth saying they will stick around and adapt/morph, so we really need to change our outlook. This could be bring us together more like a common foe (think Watchman) but you would have thought the environment destruction of our planet would have done that already? Flying has already facing a massive backlash but in the face of Covid-19, expect even more changes, if the airlines haven’t gone bust.

The  role of public service health and public service broadcasts has been very clear throughout but also the lack of resourcing them. Flatten the curve is a key message which people are getting their head around. Not just in the UK but across the world. Talking of public service broadcasting, this initiative: culture in quarantine, is pretty amazing and extremely quick for the BBC. There’s certainly some links to the digital public space.

The sheer amount of misinformation has forced the GAFFAs to do something but they are playing catch up on the trusted space to the public service broadcasters. Of course private companies have been throwing what they can to support people remotely working with lots of deals, even if the deals can convince/trap people in the long run? The calls for the end of public service broadcasting have gone strangely silent

John Oliver presents from a short staffed studio with no audience

Its absolutely fascinating to see the mainstream media shows adapt to the pandemic by using the exact technology bloggers, podcasters and videobloggers have been using for over a decade. We are watching news reporters from their homes and once we get over the first shock, it becomes the norm.

Its also around the time of crisis when data ethics is dashed to the wind. Its also when you see new laws sneaked in under the radar. Sometimes the crisis is a cover for what was always wanted.

However its been so impressive to see the local community driven support networks which have sprung up. DotEveryone’s Cassie’s recent posts is a good read looking at the tension for these networks, as theres a long way to go. (thanks Laura and GJB for the links). Douglas Rushkoff is right on the money with his conversation with Helena Norberg-Hodge, who talks about localfutures. All this nicely intersects with open source culture.

The term Stay Safe, Stay Connected is being used so much more than ever. It might be a halo effect but people are more concerned about each other than a month ago.But its perfect…

Stay safe, stay connected!

 

Celebrating, I didn’t reproduce day

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZxzTLcsEEo

Bill Mahar hits the nail on the head with “I Didn’t Reproduce Day.” Its a  excellent observation of the state of our society, where people are pressured into having children because “you don’t have children?

I know Bill is being deliberately controversial and I don’t really think we need a I didn’t reproduce day but he’s right about this pressure from our society and its not really on…

This will instantly wind up a lot of people, especially those with children. It may feel like an attack on you but its not. Its about giving people the space and freedom to make their own decisions not feel guilt tripping them into something which others think is correct. Similar messages are applied to couples which are not married.

Phones On Planes Are Inevitable In A Connected World

WiFi on tube

Stowe Boyd makes a good point about the phones on a plane debate which has broken out.

Flying on an airplane is not some weekend escape at a spa where we place hot rocks on our chakras and seek enlightenment. It’s just another mode of transit.

Yes, air travel has gone downhill, like most things in the postnormal. And yes, airlines will exploit this opportunity to gouge another pound of flesh from the meat that waddles on and off their planes. That’s the way things work.

But to hold to some quaint, antiquated notion of peace and quiet in the air is laughable. Airplanes are loud in the first place — 60-90 decibels — so anyone with any sense will bring earplugs, hearing protection earmuffs, or noise cancelling headphones. This is especially true of road warriors, who otherwise can get cumulative hearing loss.

So get over your antiquated, 1970s attitudes about phones on planes. In a connected world, people will naturally use whatever technologies they can to remain connected: their livelihoods and relationships are at stake.

Just like wifi on public transport…

I don’t really like the idea of people yammering away on phones while on public transport but we got use to it and found ways around the noise. Sometimes we put headphones on, sometimes we tell people to stfu. Frankly we will deal with it because being connected for many of us is not just a nicety, but a must. And unfortunately that does mean dealing with idiots who shout down a phone.

A Rant About Women by Clay Shirky

A Pensive Clay Shirky

If you’ve not been following the heat/blowback from Clay Shirky’s rant about woman then its worth reading and following some of the strongly formatted comments which follow.

Personally I see what Clay is trying to say, but I don’t think its written as elegantly as he was thinking. That or he’d felt like causing a bit of a storm on the internet for a while. I wanted to pick up on two comments which sum up my thoughts…

Simon St.Laurent says:

There are two basic problems with this piece.

First, telling other people that the way to fix their problems is by being more like you is rarely a good strategy. It might work one-on-one occasionally, but the larger the cultural boundary this approach tries to cross, the less likely it is to produce much besides sparks.

Second, the behavior prescribed is behavior that a lot of us – men included – would like to see reduced rather than increased, punished rather than rewarded. That the first two examples both involved telling lies, however white they might seem from this perspective, doesn’t help make the case.

Stepping back and asking about how people listen seems to me a lot more likely to work than telling people they need to change how they talk.

There is a certainly amount of arrogance is asking someone to be more like yourself… I certainly don’t like it.

Marcus Brody says:

You’ve got the problem backwards. It isn’t that more women (and men) should act like hierarchical assholes, it’s that those assessing performance shouldn’t be so lazy that they only notice assholes. Your argument boils down to: people who assess performance are lazy and don’t bother to think critically so they are easily swayed by false aggrandizement. If you want to change the assessors opinions you should lie because the assessors don’t put in the effort to tell the difference between falsehoods and reality.

And you know what, most assessors are lazy, so lying does pay off. The call to action, though, shouldn’t be for more lying, but rather, less indolence on the part of those who are in a position to judge others.

Unfortunately for Clay, your starting to see this type of headline come up – Shirky: Women Need to Strap On Some Balls . Geez, wonder how long it took to create that headline…