What is a robot? Are robots our friends? Does the term “friend” even apply? So begins this week’s episode of Douglas Rushkoff’s Team Human with cyborg anthropologist Amber Case. Amber and Douglas look at how algorithmically programmed systems of automation and control might just be turning us into the robots. Case’s recent book, Calm Technology Design For the Next Generation of Devices proposes another way. How might we flip the script on systems that compress and atomize our every move? How might we use our technology to slow down rather than speed up – to resolve to sharper human detail rather than a pixelated blur. And finally, how might we use technology, including this podcast, to advance a slow-motion, empathetic, and deep state of calm?
Rushkoff begins with a monologue on the Jewish high holidays. Is prayer a distraction to the real world work of justice that must be done, or is there something deeper and more communal to retrieve?