A few days ago, the RAND Corporation -- one of America's oldest think tanks -- published a report titled, Truth Decay: A Threat To Policymaking and Democracy. Though I've read it only once and probably don't yet grasp all its nuances, I think it's very relevant to our world today and want to bring it to your attention.
You can find the full report here. Here are some of the highlights. The items in italics ...
Years ago, I heard Jaron Lanier give a lecture that included a brief summary of the Turing Test. Lanier suggested that there are two ways that machines might pass Turing’s test of artificial intelligence. On the one hand, machines could get smarter. On the other hand, humans could get dumber.
I wonder if humans-getting-dumber is where we’re headed with digital Taylorism.
Frederick Taylor, who died just over 100 years ago, was the father of scientific management ...
Some of the best questions about the world around us are those that seem obvious when they’re asked … but anything but obvious until they’re asked.
I recently saw a spate of articles about the use of anesthetics and plants. We’ve known – at least since 1846 – that compounds like ether can anesthetize humans. Breathe a little in and you lose your sensibility to the world around you while maintaining core functions like ...
With a perverse incentive, a company incents its employees to behave in ways that are contrary to the company's interests. The company, in other words, pays employees to do things that reward the employee but prevent the company from reaching its stated goals. (See here and here for more detail).
Why would a company do that? Sometimes the stated goals of the company are not its actual goals. For instance, the company may say that it ...
Loneliness is a growing problem in modern societies. Political polarization is also a noteworthy trend. Could the two phenomena be linked? Could loneliness, in fact, cause political polarization?
According to numerous sources, loneliness is a serious health problem – not just mental health but physical health as well. Several recent studies have documented the physical effects:
Julianne Holt-Lunstad and her colleagues analyzed 70 studies and estimate that loneliness increases mortality at about the same ...
Are older people wiser? If so, why?
Some societies believe strongly that older people are wiser than younger people. Before a family or community makes a big decision in such societies, they would be sure to consult their elders. The elders’ advice might not be the final word but it’s highly influential. Further, elders always have say in important matters. Nobody would think of not including them.
Why would elders be wiser than others? One ...
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