The Plutopia News Network features news and media from the bleeding edge of culture and technology, edited, published, and produced by Jon Lebkowsky, Scoop Sweeney, and Maggie Duval
Douglas Rushkoff: The Mindset
Author, media theorist, and fellow podcaster Douglas Rushkoff joins the Plutopia podcast as we discuss his latest book, Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires. We also explore technoutopians, capitalism, billionaire tech bros, psychedelic tech bros, The Mindset, going beta, the blockchain and crypto, Q Anon, and much more!
Douglas Rushkoff: But there's almost darker forms now, whether it's the Effective Altruism, which a lot of people are talking about now since the crash of FTX, which was a crypto exchange started by one of the main funders of the Effective Altruism movement, which is the idea that you don't do as much good doing good as you do by making money, and then donating some of it to do good. So stop worrying about treating people nicely, stop worrying about whether your business is destroying the planet or hurting other people. As long as you make a ton of money, you're going to more efficiently by some utilitarian algorithm that we've developed, we can justify - you take 5% of your income, and give it to charity, you're doing more good long-term than you are by actually being (laughter) a good person.
"Most simply stated, our nervous systems do not operate independently but in concert with the other nervous systems around us. It’s as if we share one collective nervous system. Our physical and mental health is contingent on nurturing those connections. Leaving others behind is futile and stupid. It’s as if we’ve come full circle—and sensibilities that the Western world with its empirical science and individual progress were meant to transcend are back in full force."
The Mindset: a belief that with enough money and technology, wealthy men can live as gods and transcend the calamities that befall everyone else. It’s a way of applying the “exit strategy” of a Silicon Valley startup to civilization itself.
"The Mindset is rooted in empirical science: the reduction of nature and complexity, the domination of others, and the extraction of substance and energy from the real world and its conversion into symbol systems, like money. Digital technologies catalyzed and amplified The Mindset, yielding tech billionaires who believe that they can lord over us and then leave us behind as they migrate to humanity’s next phase of existence."
From Survival of the Richest: Escape Fantasies of the Tech Billionaires.
Patrick Lichty: Distributing the Future
"The future is already here – it's just not evenly distributed." ~ William Gibson, in The Economist, 12/4/2003
"This isn't the dystopia that I wrote about!" ~ Bruce Sterling
Artist, writer, and curator Patrick Lichty returns to the Plutopia podcast as we explore the future. We do a deep dive into Web3, crypto, bad actors on the Internet, Meta and the Metaverse, Second Life, science fiction and life on Mars.
Patrick Lichty: "It's kind of funny... I wound up doing a lot of study on the whole Martian thing, because a friend of mine over in the UAE and I, we were actually proposing a VR habitat for people in Mars colonies. Because you're going to wind up in these relatively cramped quarters, or you're going to be on a ship for two years, and that sort of thing, and you need a way to feel like you're not in a can. So this is one really good psychological use for VR."
* Patrick also manages Plutopia News Network's "Reality Augmented" Twitter account.
* Patrick Lichty on Twitter
* Patrick Lichty on Wikipedia
* Patrick Lichty on Instagram
Mid-term Election Debrief
The mid-term election is over, ballots are still being counted, and the dreaded red wave turned out to be a red ripple. Our friend Roy Casagranda joins Plutopians as we dissect election 2022.
Roy Casagranda: If you look at the 2018 election, 95% of blacks voted Democrat, which is, like, unbelievable. 67% of Hispanics voted Democrat, and 75% of Asians voted Democrat. In 2020, the black number didn't really move much, maybe a little bit. The Hispanic number went from 67% to 60%, and then the Asian number went from 75% to 70%. So there was a little bit of loss of reliability in the 2020 election. But the voter turnout was so massive it didn't really matter, because the big problem that Democrats have is not the unreliability of people of color, it's that 60% of white people are voting Republican. That's the real problem. And then the other part that have that's a problem is that Democrats are really awful at showing up and voting.
Midterm Voting, Twitter, and the Wyrd
Plutopians enjoy a free-form fiesta of facts and fictions! Jon, Suzy and Scoop discuss voting, Austin politics, Twitter, politics on Tik Tok, cannabis politics, Trump in 2024, and other nightmares.
Suzy: I'm off Twitter. I'll never Twit again.
Jon: Oh, really?
Suzy: No, I'm done. Did you see what happened, the spike in the use of racial slurs, most particularly the "n" word? 500% up.
Jon: After that, he [Elon] said that, "Well, we're not really going to change moderation policies right now...." I don't know whether they kicked any of those people off or what they did about it. He's in a bit of a quandary, because he made all of this noise about how he was going to have this great free speech thing going, but he's going to lose all of his advertisers.
Scoop: Yeah, that's who's being lobbied to get out of Elon's business, because they are going to look bad if they stick around, and it becomes the hellscape that people are thinking it's going to be.
From Jon L.: Almost down to the wire with 2022 midterms, we decided a discussion of voting was in order. However Elon Musk was shitting on all the news cycles, so we had to go there, too. Our stream of consciousness flowed pretty well on this show, considering that apocalyptic nature of the subjects we were discussing. Help us row the boat, navigate the stream!
Daniel Hope: A Spiritual Direction
Daniel Hope is a Spiritual Director and Enneagram Coach who runs spirituality programming in the healthcare industry. In this Plutopia podcast, Daniel and Jon discuss spirituality, meditation, spiritual direction, artificial intelligence vs. humanity, finding common ground, and much more.
Daniel Hope: Darwin was - I don't think he was the first to propose this, but he put forward that collaboration outperforms competition at the group level. Sometimes at the individual level, individuals can be more competitive, and they may outperform the other individuals. And so it may give them some short-term gain, it may give them some benefit. But if that is brought up to the group level, the collaborative groups are always going to win. Look at the Wall Street data, the analysis of companies with women in leadership. They outperform all the others hands down in every area.
* On Medium
* On Twitter
“It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” – Charles Darwin
"We are not the victims, we are the collaborators and, if we accept this role, we can be the co-creators of something transformative." - Daniel Hope
Robert Freeman Wexler: Surreality
In our latest Plutopia News Network podcast, with guest Robert Freeman Wexler, we discuss his early career, his work in book design and his new novel, The Silverberg Business.
Robert Freeman Wexler is an author of surreal fantasy. His latest book is novel, The Silverberg Business, from Small Beer Press. Previous books include short story collection Undiscovered Territories, the novel The Painting And The City, and Circus of the Grand Design. He lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio with the writer Rebecca Kuder.
RFW (re. The Siverberg Business/): I intended it, or had visualized it, as a novella, because I was working on another novel. Then I had this idea - I thought I can write it pretty quickly, I'll write this novella. And then I wrote the novella, and gave it to some people to read. One person thought that it was maybe only halfway finished, and I didn't like that answer. But it turned out to be true. So I wrote the rest of it. So in that case, I had more of a sense of that first part, and then I knew what was going to happen next, once I got back to the writing. And then after that, it kind of fell into place.
* Review of The Silverberg Business in Locus.
* R.F. Wexler on Twitter
* R.F. Wexler on Instagram
* R.F. Wexler on Facebook