Nope. No. This is not what the world is coming to.
I call it Immediacracy:
1. Rule by immediacy. Decisions are increasingly being made based upon the demands of expedience rather than rational considerations. The consequences can favor either convenience or catastrophe, but it seems clear that humans have entered a phase of artificial selection which favors those who appear to be ready to exploit opportunities at the earliest possible moment. I expect that this is a function of exploding population density - a culture in which aggressive self interest is seen as bold and honest while qualities like patience and consideration are increasingly considered timid and obstructive. The ‘smaller, faster, cheaper’ ethos applies not only to technology, but to the quality of human life in general. We are transitioning, for better or worse (mostly worse) to a disposable workforce who have neither the time nor resources to influence their own working conditions.
The workforce, the whole world, has more resources than EVER before. it’s the Internet! Also, people have always been bold and “honest.” Patience is a virtue because it’s actually a hard quality to hang onto. Also, “Get Rich Quick” schemes are exactly what this guy is describing, and they’ve been around for a long time.
2. Rule by im-mediaton. Transparency across multiple media platforms has created a remarkably homogenous, digital super-platform which is subtly re-shaping the way that we perceive the world and ourselves. While there is still a lot of pre-digital content available, and interest in nostalgia remains high, it is not clear that civilization will continue to produce anything to be nostalgic about. In the same way that politics has been contracted to sound bite sloganeering, the past has become contracted as well, and the passage of time seems to be be governed by the rise and fall of internet services rather than any meaningful zeitgeist identity. Unlike the twentieth century’s clearly demarcated decades, the 21st century seems more like a blur of intractable problems and cosmetic improvements to consumer devices.
It helps that the 21st century is only 14 years old. It’s not like the Greatest Generation won WWII and then said, Hey, we’re awesome, let’s call ourselves something so everyone knows that. This stuff takes time and is almost ALWAYS branded after the fact. Millenials have had like three different brandings before this one!
And sloganeering has been a part of politics forever. Tippacanoe and Tyler Too! Politicians use them because they catch on and they are simple. They use them because politics, dude!
Also, the first decade of the 21st Century has been RIFE with change, starting with 9/11, which altered the entire global landscape. We don’t even know the extent of the ripples the Global War on Terror has caused, and we likely won’t know for a few more decades, when historians will give this decade some nostalgic branding.
The loss of partitioning of episodic history is mirrored by the transition to the loss of partitioning in all areas of individual life. Barriers between home and work, private and social, domestic and international, have all become more permeable. The birth of the digital age at the consumer level began with the popularity of two devices in particular - the digital watch and the digital calculator. What has followed is a subtle revolution in the way that we perceive time and money. What was once a matter of natural rhythms, physics, and hard currency has become a transmission of numerical codes within a global network. This has contributed, I suspect, to the furthering of ‘Civilization-Lite”, a kind of facade of branded semaphores which refer increasingly to nothing but their own power to grant temporary control over themselves.
The drive toward cut-and-paste universality across all systems and experiences has opened the door to perpetual surveillance and callow disregard for all that is beyond the current moment. I’m not sure that it is as dire as was predicted by Orwell and Huxley, but the overlap between their dystopias and our own society cannot be denied. While we may not have a Ministry of Truth literally erasing evidence of the past which contradicts current propaganda, the funneling of truth-finding functions of civilization through private services like Google has already begun to commodify credibility. With immediacracy, only the first 10 or 20 results of any search really matter, so it is just a matter of controlling the majority of those results.
Oh good grief. Look, I will agree with the idea that we’re becoming an increasingly corporate/surveillance state, but comparing the use of Google to Orwell and Huxley’s dystopias is just absurd. People have been faking photographs since photography was invented. There are plenty of ways to google something without Google (You gotta Bing it!) and credibility is an actual thing that can be commodified. Don’t be butthurt just because you don’t like Google’s search results.
3. Outside in and Inside Out. The trend toward increasing internalization of data from the outside world and customization of the outside world based on our personal preferences is also covered under immediacracy. The tendency to cocoon with mobile devices and other digital platforms has made it not only possible but desireable for those who can afford it to ignore the world entirely. We live increasingly in our own immediated world of media while the world outside of media is increasingly unlivable. Augmented Reality and Diminished Reality promises to escalate this way of life, and it is not hard to envision a future in which H.G. Wells vision of Eloi and Morlocks comes to pass in the form of a simultaneous utopia and dystopia, broken down along class lines so that it will be possible for the well heeled to literally inhabit a different world from everyone else. The term ‘insiders’ may take on a new meaning, as being on the inside will literally entail living inside a customized, prestige interface, while outsiders are literally thrown out of civilization.
Those who can afford it have ALWAYS ALWAYS been able to ignore the world completely. They insulate themselves for a variety of reasons, but it’s not a new concept. Wealth makes it possible and desirable.
Also, this guy can feel free to take his head out of his ass and realize that 90% of the world doesn’t live like him. There are plenty of people living in dystopias RIGHT NOW who don’t have access to clean drinking water or even personal safety. Those are called poor people, and they can be found around the world. It’s already happened! It has been happening for millenia and has nothing to do with “Immediacracy”. Good grief, sir!