Home > What Could Possibly Go Right? Interview Series > Episode 28: Douglas Rushkoff: Finding the Others

December 22, 2020

Douglas Rushkoff is an author and documentarian who studies human autonomy in a digital age. Named one of the “world’s ten most influential intellectuals” by MIT, his twenty books include the recently published Team Human, based on his podcast. Others include bestsellers Present Shock, Throwing Rocks and the Google Bus, Program or Be Programmed, Life Inc, and Media Virus. He also made the PBS Frontline documentaries Generation Like, The Persuaders, and Merchants of Cool

Rushkoff’s work explores how different technological environments change our relationship to narrative, money, power, and one another. Through this lens, he answers the question of “What Could Possibly Go Right?” including:

  • That our immersion in online networking technologies is making us long for “organic kinship”, and causing overwhelm and distrust as our evolutionary social cues are missed.
  • That what could go right is we emerge from this isolation and dominance of screens to being more willing to reconnect with other human beings in person, more readily establishing rapport, solidarity, and mutuality.
  • That civics is about feeling responsible for neighbors and community, even if you don’t always like them. 
  • That we “learn to see that unpredictability as the novelty and weirdness and joy of being a living entity in the now.”
  • That we need to get rid of our addiction to exponential growth, extraction and repression of others, and refocus on the commons. Rather than “using the stick of devastation”, we use the “carrot” of fun to make working together more appealing than ongoing competition.
  • The encouragement to: “Find the others. You don’t have to do this in isolation. They’re all over the place. Just look into people’s eyes and you’ll get that instant moment of recognition of, Oh, there’s another one. Let’s do this together.”

Resources

Extra Reading


About Douglas Rushkoff

Named one of the “world’s ten most influential intellectuals” by MIT, Douglas Rushkoff is an author and documentarian who studies human autonomy in a digital age. His twenty books include the just-published Team Human, based on his podcast, as well as the bestsellers Present Shock, Throwing Rocks and the Google Bus, Program or Be Programmed, Life Inc, and Media Virus. He also made the PBS Frontline documentaries Generation Like, The Persuaders, and Merchants of Cool. His book Coercion won the Marshall McLuhan Award, and the Media Ecology Association honored him with the first Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity.

Rushkoff’s work explores how different technological environments change our relationship to narrative, money, power, and one another. He coined such concepts as “viral media,” “screenagers,” and “social currency,” and has been a leading voice for applying digital media toward social and economic justice. He a research fellow of the Institute for the Future, and founder of the Laboratory for Digital Humanism at CUNY/Queens, where he is a Professor of Media Theory and Digital Economics. He is a columnist for Medium, and his novels and comics, Ecstasy Club, A.D.D, and Aleister & Adolf, are all being developed for the screen.

Connect with Douglas

rushkoff.com | Facebook | Twitter | Team Human


Download the transcript here.