Humans are no longer valued for our creativity, says media theorist Douglas Rushkoff — in a world dominated by digital technology, we’re now just valued for our data. In a passionate talk, Rushkoff urges us to stop using technology to optimize people for the market and start using it to build a future centered on our pre-digital values of connection, creativity and respect. “Join ‘Team Human.’ Find the others,” he says. “Together let’s make the future that we always wanted.”
It doesn’t have to be this way.
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.
The simplest way to understand and change our predicament is to recognize that being human is a team sport. We cannot be fully human, alone. Anything that brings us together fosters our humanity. Likewise, anything that separates us makes us less human, and less able to exercise our will.
Douglas Rushkoff coined such expressions as “viral media,” “digital natives” and “social currency,” and advises governments, communities, and businesses on the impact of technology on society’s future. Named one of “the world’s ten most influential thinkers” by MIT, Rushkoff won the Marshal McLuhan Award for media writing and the Neil Postman award for Public Intellectual Activity.
Rushkoff hosts the Team Human podcast, made four PBS Frontline documentaries including Generation Like and The Merchants of Cool, and wrote many bestselling books including Team Human, Present Shock, Program or Be Programmed and Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus. He founded the Laboratory for Digital Humanism at CUNY/Queens College, where he is a professor of media theory and digital economics.