You Might Assume
Since I was a kid, my preferences for things helped others define my personality, from their perspective. It helped them put me in a box. They’d use that box to pull out gifts; suggestions, reactions to news I’d produced. Nothing new here. We all do it, but we don’t often ask if this boxing of people is really helpful.
It makes complete sense to box people. It simplifies the work your brain must do when it calculates its reaction to others. It has to filter data through social norms and other local expectations before projecting a response on your face or through your voice. Again, nothing new here. Yet, I think we’re all thinking deeply right now about how we’d would feel if people only saw us as a simple brown box with a handwritten label someone else gave us.
This is a challenging problem to solve. As are many problems created by behavior patterns informed by thousands of years of evolution touching every aspect of who we are. What makes us special is our love of chaos and the lessons we learn from watching things implode. How we force change through violence. How we project our own insecurities and failings on others. How we manage our Consciousness Cars or don’t.
Everyday you read about the “Tech Elite” either saving or ruining the world. They are to thank or blame for every win or loss you can think of. Before this month I had no idea what “effective altruism” or “longtermism” was. As I read more from various perspectives, I honestly found some part of myself in their descriptions. Vice’s most recent article titled; “OK, WTF is ‘Longtermism’, the Tech Elite Ideology That Led to the FTX Collapse?”, I won’t restate their work here, but I’d encourage you to read before you proceed.
From what I gathered, these philosophies influence technology leaders decision making when developing products. While searching for large amounts of revenue to support our collective resilience to climate change. The idea that you should do whatever it takes to fund ideas that could save humanity. Even break rules or exploit loopholes. Or clutter the sky with satellites.
On the surface so often these philosophies sound like great ideas. I honestly don’t disagree with the idea of leveraging every asset to survive climate change. Though I think many more people are aware, we have not made effective progress in personal routines and purchasing trends to reduce drivers. As with anything it seems, people don’t like to think about difficult topics that force us to thing of loved ones dying pre-maturely because of choices we made decades before. It’s hard for anyone to take on. So much of our lifestyle and personality is tied up in products that actively reduce our odds of success.
Getting a group of people to agree on how to solve this problem will likely take far longer than we have. And I think many of these tech elite have good intentions, they are moving fast, focused on science, trying to make economically viable solutions to some really big challenges. No one gets it right the first time, but at least someone is trying.
I can’t fault them for that. I worry some want to make the Matrix franchise real. While still others dabble, unabated, in some sensitive social spaces. Again, I think their intentions are good. I do think we need balance; we need to provide an effective way for people to sense their environment. We need a secure, trusted source of personal, professional, and community metrics with best practice models that help people establish sustainable, economically successful lives. I saw myself in many of the articles and I can understand why these philosophies can be scary. Often we get carried away with theory.
As someone who’s career developed in the healthcare system in the United States, I have a unique perspective. For many years I sat in observance of care providers and their patients. People seeking care for sever or minor injuries or illness. I myself have been affected by cancer. I’ve watched how multiple generations of care providers adapted to changes in technology, as the community hospital I worked for became one of the first hospitals to install an electronic medical record system. They moved their paper-based workflow developed over hundreds of years to a digital system. All of a sudden their work relied upon them understanding a different language while another person’s life was in their hands.
Talk about stressful.
As a neurodivergent, high-school drop out, structured education didn’t work. I needed to be hands-on to absorb. I started working in healthcare at 18. My nursing school student, single mother gave me insights and opportunities in healthcare that I explored for 20 years. Work that touched nearly every corner of a how a hospital operates when providing people with care in urgent and elective settings. Immersed in complex projects designing, building, and supporting medical record systems that automated supply chain, documentation, and billing aspects of providing surgery services. In real-time I provide “ at the elbow support” to care providers when their technology skipped a beat, or needed to understand global clinical practices using Business Intelligence reporting tools and large sensitive datasets. What was once locked away on paper was now available to inform how care could be improved, how cost could be reduced, where the business of providing care can be improved. The EMR could provide the specifics at a scale people struggle to organize.
Everyday I could see how my skills, knowledge, and talent affected patient care. Because of my abilities I found opportunities throughout my career, developing my skills, knowledge, and talent.
As someone who lives an atypical life, one of fewer stressors and more space to focus. I see my role in this world as someone who can focus and do work. I believe in my ability to empathize with people while serving old millennial vibes.
I believe the one thing we can do now to ensure all future efforts to save the world succeed, is to help people quickly organize skills, knowledge, and talent. Using technology to unite, create accountability, and power economic activity that rewards innovation equally while inspiring trust and creating hope.
Digital technology has provided us with a new language, one that when written well can help us process the noise of life and focus our collective energy on solving real problems.
I think what many in the “tech elite” skip is describing these concepts to others in relatable terms, and because they’re learning on the job(I know I am), not every decision they make pans out. But at least the effort was made. It started a conversation. It gave people a chance to see a possible future and provide feedback. It does mean everyday people who choose to invest in these attempts may take uncomfortable risk supporting their efforts. An unavoidable trait of capitalism.
These philosophical conversations are important to have and understand. They’re also important to monitor as they’re implemented into software that has the potential to amplify bad ideas quickly, consuming your democracy while we scroll.
As the founder of a company I hope will become a catalyst for global change, we’ll leverage personal analytics and automation to help people navigate life more sustainably with actionable data and best practice guidance in real-time.
We want to make the complex simple, to enable anyone to thrive, restart, launch a story, or explore the world.
We’re a small team nearing the launch of our first mobile application. A first step to a balanced future. You might assume, because we work with technology, that we fit neatly into your “GEEK” box. Some aspects fit, but you know it’s more complex than that.