The Race to the Bottom

Two things are going on in our world – a global rise and a global fall. The Industrial World has peaked out, and is collapsing. But the Computer World is exploding.

And often the two are mixed up – with people caught in the middle, not knowing what to pay attention to. So they pay attention to nothing – and really work at that. While their world destroys itself.

The symbol for all this is the smartphone – that is making people stupid. People seem to think they are holding an improved brain in their hands – and can dispense with the old one in their heads.

This might actually work, if the Phone was a transparent window into the Computer Cloud – that has enough data and the processing power to do almost anything. But what they get is Artificial Intelligence (AI), instead. This makes the Phone look smarter than it is.

This has made new business models possible – without giving us the ability to tell if they will help us, or hurt us.

Let me give you an example. Today I go on my weekly shopping trip to the nearest large town, Cartago, in Costa Rica. I will be using taxis to get around, since I have a lot of territory to cover. But these are well-regulated, and their costs are reasonable. And they provide employment for a lot of taxi drivers. Would replacing them with Uber cars make Cartago any better?

I know people (and you do too) who will not ask if this is good for Cartago – but only if it is good for them.


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