The parents in Overland Park, Kan., were fed up. They wanted their children off screens, but they needed strength in numbers. First, because no one wants their kid to be the lone weird one without a phone. And second, because taking the phone away from a middle schooler is actually very, very tough.
“We start the meetings by saying, ‘This is hard, we’re in a new frontier, but who is going to help us?’” said Krista Boan, who is leading a Kansas City-based program called START, which stands for Stand Together And Rethink Technology. “We can’t call our moms about this one.”
I first noticed this gap almost a decade ago visiting college campuses. When I would sit in on classes at small private collegess students with laptops were a rare sight. At community colleges, they were slightly more common. At state universities, with amphitheater sized classrooms, they were all too common. Equally all too common was how many were all tuned to social media.
We’re facing a major challenge,” Moenius said. “If we don’t do anything, then it will turn into an apocalypse.”
Whether confronting an increasingly automated labor market or grappling with how the gig economy is reshaping the relationship between companies and their workers, California’s next governor will have to address the changing nature of work.
That could mean rethinking how to educate Californians, remaking labor laws or considering major social safety net proposals such as a universal basic income. State government might not be able to control change sweeping the workplace, but it will have to deal with the fallout.
What starts in Cali . . .
According to new data from Pew Research Center that sampled US Facebook users aged 18 and up, 4 in 10 (42 percent) of those surveyed have taken a break from the social network for “several weeks or more” in the last year; a quarter of respondents said they’ve deleted the mobile app entirely from their smartphones.
I was always stunned adults put that app on their phone. I have serious regrets about ever advocating the use of Facebook.
What silence looks like online is hard to describe, because it’s necessarily individual: I have a different threshold than you, for example, for dealing with Twitter trolls or rogue Instagram commenters. But I do think there are a few rules. First, quiet is found in considered spaces — think @everycolorbot or #cloudtwitter. Second, if silence is found through listening, then peaceful places online are more generative (like Glitch or Codecademy, or one of my favorites, Twine) and, generally, focused on maintaining small, healthy communities (like Metafilter). Silence pools like the tides. It’s hard to find at high tide, and immediately obvious where the pools are when the tide are out.
True silence online can only be found at Zombocom
(Quartz at Work)
Traditional religion in the Bay Area is being replaced with another sort of faith, a belief in the power of technology and science to save humanity. It’s a creed that says poverty and disease are simply programming challenges yet to be solved, bad code to be debugged. There’s a reason technologists use words like “evangelist” and “mission” to talk about themselves and their work.
Farther out on the fringes is the belief in the technological singularity, the idea that artificial intelligence will evolve to a point where it surpasses human intelligence, resulting in a fundamental transformation of civilization. In some versions of the theory, people will merge with machines. Humans will become both obsolete and eternal.
For men and women immersed in the old-fashioned sort of religion, Silicon Valley’s faith in itself is a challenge. How can a religion based on ancient texts hope to compete with something as new and exciting—and sacrifice-free—as technology’s promise?