Facebook and other apps are designed to capture and hold our attention, but the experience it produces, while compelling, can be far from pleasant. Some people get paid to create content, but social media companies depend on users to create content for free, content which is essential to the platforms' business model. Users aren't paid for the content they create, but the prevailing wisdom is that the platform provides value to the content creators in the form of a means by which to create an audience and connect with like-minded users and stay in touch with friends and loved ones who live far away. But is this an equal trade? Is the value of the trade the only thing that keeps us coming back to social media? KMO reads from some insider marketing material which makes it all too clear that the app designers are using human evolutionary psychology to hack our neurology and trick us into giving away the goods for free at great personal cost to our quality of life. Later, KMO looks at the book Money and Work Unchained by Charles Hugh Smith to define the key characteristics that differentiate work from leisure. There's way more to it than getting paid.
In the second half of the conversation with Leo He Jhao, Leo describes his conception of "the Revolution." He sees it involving minimal bloodshed and leaving the global capitalist supply chains and manufacturing apparatus and agricultural capacity functioning free of the sort of interruption that would result in mass starvation and conflict over resources. KMO remains skeptical, arguing that any revolution that freed everyone from unjust coercion would disrupt the production of distribution of food and other goods, and any change that left the system functioning as it did before would more of a change in management than a revolution.
Non-wonks, when talking about politics, tend to use "liberal" and "leftist" interchangeably. If you go to the dictionary (or Wikipedia) definition of the word, most people living in contemporary democracies, including Republicans and libertarians, should count as liberals because they believe in free markets, free speech, a free press and democratic processes. But Rush Limbaugh and an army of imitators have spent their careers changing the definition of the word "liberal," and our political conversations are now hopelessly confused as a result. Leo He Zhao is determined to unmix the terms and distinguish "liberals," who want social progress under capitalism, from "leftists" who oppose capitalism.
KMO and Christopher Harrison talk about the Neolithic Revolution and why anyone would choose to toil in the service of the earliest agricultural civilizations when they would have enjoyed better health and a higher quality of life in foraging societies. A conversation with James C. Scott on the This is Hell podcast serves as the jumping off point, but you don't need to have heard that program to follow the discussion here. KMO quotes from a book about Ghengis Khan to tout the benefits of a ketogenic diet. Toward the end, KMO and Christopher share their love and appreciation of dogs.
How likely are Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and Google to renounce the potential economic advantages of artificial intelligence and end their furious development of that technology? What's the most effective form of meditation? What does that even mean? Why did audiences enjoy Brite while critics loathed it? KMO, with the help of CRV listeners, tackles all of these questions in this week's episode.