[ExI] mazlow's heirarchy of needs

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Thu Dec 6 03:00:06 UTC 2012

In Maslow's defence, I think you would prefer the net to go down in your 
house rather than the sewage system. But it is amazing how fast we have 
adapted to a world where information is accessible. It is also 
integrated in many parts of our life: the food, shelter, social stuff 
are all partially linked to it.

On 06/12/2012 01:06, spike wrote:
> Isn't is astonishing that a mere 20 yrs ago, we didn't really even 
> have the internet.  What the heck did we do?  Go around not knowing stuff?

I think that is about right.

I was interviewed by an art student a few days ago about the interaction 
of humans and technology, and found myself saying "I'm old enough to 
remember when computers were not common household objects". Indeed, when 
I didn't know something at best I could go to the library, but if it was 
too unusual (quite often the case) it was unlikely to have it. Yes, the 
Stockholm city library did not have many books on demonology - it 
annoyed me. So instead of assuming "the information is out there" you 
had to make do with the information that was accessible. It is a 
profound change of how we think about things: rather than having to do 
super-smart deductions from fragmentary data, we can re-use loads of 
previous data and deductions.

Same thing for communications. Today we have multiple media available 
and can select the right one - email for semi-persistent, longish and 
non-pushy communications, blogs for persistent messages, twitter for 
non-persistent short messages, phones for pushy non-persistent comms, 
SMS for pushy persistent short comms, and so on. The distance between us 
is more measured in preferred media than physical distance.

It is easy to forget how rapidly we change our mental world. When I grew 
up "foreign" implied something exotic and unreachable. Today it means 
"in a different jurisdiction". Today I expect that if I have an idea I 
can make the world know about it before leaving my chair - a concept 
that is really shocking to the people shaped by the broadcast media age 
(radio studios in the UK and Sweden are still treated as strategic 
locations with special security requirements since they have the awesome 
power of allowing someone to be heard broadly).

Cheers for a globalized, networked and non-not-knowing-stuff world!

Anders Sandberg,
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Faculty of Philosophy
Oxford University

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