« Freakonomics Radio

419. 68 Ways to Be Better at Life

2020-05-21 | 🔗

The accidental futurist Kevin Kelly on why enthusiasm beats intelligence, how to really listen, and why the solution to bad technology is more technology.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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those under the face of every person, it annoying me in the face of some jog? This makes you nicer to them. Suddenly I am empathetic toward every person, no stupid question. The name of our new podcast. Please subscribe right now. We're ever get your pack guess. I'd like to talk. How hard we worked on it, but obviously we just sit down unload our brains, but we have a great deal. Making it I think you'll enjoy listening. So I hope you give no stupid try and let us know what you think who doesn't love a little wisdom once in a while. We all seek it out in but we know or would like to know in full Sophie and science and religion in adventure travelled all sorts
mine bending encounters. Most wisdom is presented in a manner befitting its ambition, with an important sounding title and a package design to impress, but sometimes the wisdom is just sitting there on a website with the title lake sixty eight bits of unsolicited advice, that's what Kevin Kelly all the list. He wrote on the occasion of his sixtyth birthday and he published on his website k, K, DOT, Org, you It down surround far more than I thought it would so has gone viral in. Why did he can I'll sixty eight bits of wisdom. The beginning of this year I mean deals my three year old son that we would each write something? every day or make some are and that we try to hold each cannibal an idea to write them advice or him. As my little thing for the day for the day, that happened to be his own birthday
yes, I decided to do habits do might remember: Hobbes, don't get birthday presence on the birthday they give birthday presence, by now. You may well be asking yourself who is this sixty eight year old habit by the name of cabin Kelly, and why should I pay attention to his wisdom officially, the senior maverick at Wired magazine a magazine, a cofounded twenty four. Years ago? He has found its mother things do yeah things like the well, which was first public access to the internet. Things like the hackers conference in the are jammed in these days. I ideas, most of his ideas are packaged as books like the two thousand. Sixteen book called the inevitable understanding. The twelve technological force that will shape our future. That book.
Read by many as a blueprint for how artificial intelligence will unfold. We interviewed Kelly back then to the absurd was called the future proof. I isn't- is scary, as you think most of aid is gonna, be invisible to us that one of the signs of the success of a technology becomes invisible. Kelly is often called futurists I dont that word for myself. How does he there were other people stick that label on him. I understand where is coming from and I dont refuse it. I think it feels like calling self a visionary is like. You can't call yourself a visionary, but I do then a lot of my time. Thinking about the future, which paradoxical in many ways, if I was you can from the future under your smell and tell you things they had almost be unbelievable. Yet to be useful, you have to be plausible
So if what you're talking about is too improbable, you won't have any effect. If it's too accepted this that could be used, So this is really weird place: in the middle words just about implausible just about plus. What does it strikes me that giving advice, especially sixty eight pieces of unsolicited advice is similar, to thinking about the future. You have to be original enough to be useful, not so implausible as to be reckless Kelly says his. Expiate bits of advice are meant for younger people and in this age virtual. Graduation ceremonies, alot of them, do feel like aphorism to make here in a commencement address, but to me at least they read like- little wisdom bombs that can benefit anyone of any age, at least if you're still looking to get better at something or just to be a bit more self aware
and so today, on economics, radio sixty eight ways to be better at life. from stature and Gunnar productions. This history, economics, radio, the and explores the inside of everything. Here's your Stephen governor In addition to packaging ideas about technology, Kevin Kelly is also hard court tinker. So a few of his Sixty eight pieces of unsolicited advice or coming from someone who's plainly spend a lot of time in a workshop. For instance, dough trust all purpose, glue and
if you're looking for something in your house, and then you finally find it when you're done with it, don't put it back when you found it put it back when you first looked for it, but ass majority of his advice is about dealing with other humans, some of its pretty obvious, but quite a lot is devilishly original or clever, being enthusiastic, is worth twenty five IQ points this is one of my favorites. It makes my whole body smile, to read that it's one of those things it in retrospect is so obvious. Although no, if it really is no provable, he demonstrably true yeah notice in looking at the kind of people that I wanted to hang around the often it was because of people's enthusiasm and not so much because they were geniuses, and I also notice that I probably thought they were smarter than they were because of that enthusiasm.
Finally, this is so confession. I am the smartest, person in the room by any means, but I am when the most enthusiastic person in the room- and I will get invited back and what does enthusiasm produce- that's useful that Craig question it produces. We know improvisation in improved. There's a fantastic bit of advice that you always wanted say not no, but you want to say- and you want to add into what someone had built before Are you and add onto it rather than kind of undermining Ccs M is kind of I have never thought about this, but is also called episode in a certain way, you know when I was just starting out in New York Journalism, man I mean I wasn't terrible, but I was new ETA and one that won the first assignments ahead,
it was for a rather high minded literary magazine, and I wrote the peace I thought I did pretty well, and, The editor wrote back to say when we're going out of business or not going to publish a bit to, I wouldn't publish it anyway. He said, which was obviously a little bit on the gratuitous side, but I'll never forget what he said. He said. If I were you, I would consider myself less of a writer and more of our writing in busy ass. I maybe it's enthusiast in me and I was not at all insulted. I know he's trying to insult me. There's a compliment ba correctly. I liked the term enthusiasts this word amateur, but amateur is alive but derogatory in some ways enthusiasts is maybe the more dignified term, but it's about people who are obsessive, really interested. You know,
with things they are making things happen and they have a deep interest that I think is often the fountain in the foundation of new things, big new things and is twenty I've IQ points at all a realistic estimation, that's a lot. It is, but let me just qualify them caveat I dont believe, and I q at all. I think it's a terrible, terrible, misleading idea. What is it will because the complicated procedure that we would call into there were using right now is probably mean, above the least no twelve. Maybe a hundred different types of cognition, ranging from deduction induction to memory launch a memory intuition all kinds of things- and I think this is gonna- be one aside products of
intelligence, as we try to make minds is, will come to understand that There isn't t a single dimension to intelligence is I do they can cover rank things in this ladder? Up here have a mouse or rather you don't look you stuff and then there's acid in Theirs Einstein and then there's a. I will this just ridiculous, because it's a very complicated multi, dimensional thing they were doing and as make more of these artificially will begin to actually populate that space and will find out that humans are way at the end just like we are on the galaxy, we're not the centre of anything we're always at the edge and we're gonna be at the edge in the corner of the space of possible. He's and is not a single dimension. It's much more complicated. Do you think, therefore, or, however, I'm not sure which one that there are elements of human cognition that are not able to be replicated at all by artificial intelligence or too early to say, wouldn't know what
would say is that the mix we'd be unworkable, and that's because the sub trade that you use to make thinking matters so one of the kind of cornerstones computation is theorem. The church turning hypothesis would say- that, given time and space, that all petitions processes or equivalent. Well, the kicker. Is they unlimited time and space? which is not reality. So when you are limited, there isn't the equivalency and what the a is it you're using makes a difference. So the only way that will get this mix of human. Condition is, if is running, on the same kind of part, there were running on and
There is really no reason to replicate that, because it is so easy to do with untrained labour and nine months gang. However, the thing about these artificial lines, the benefits we don't want them to think like humans, that's where we're going to make them is because I think you like us, because a good think differently, because you gonna approach problems in a different way and so we're gonna make a thousand different species of thinking. All different than us, because that's where the value is learn how to learn from those who disagree with you or even offend you see, if you can find truth in what they believe so value of doing this one seems obvious, especially in a moment word. So many people are so quick to take offence and be offensive. Can you give me an example of where you ve actually done this? There are parts of my books wherever written, something
and somebody will say something very strong about that's dumb or it's stupid or wrong, and That's pretty harsh, but my take is let me see if there is any truth to that. Sometimes there's not sometimes there may be some sliver of something and would have learned who is to respond to that ill sliver, to try to get If why they're saying, whereas the coming from I don't have to necessarily always agree with him or, Egypt, but I have to pay attention to that signal. So I've learned too these things are signals rather than is insults and is the goal era to learn more about the idea. You're writing about is the issue to Molly
Five. A potential enemy is the goal to make yourself feel more right, perhaps a question I would like to be right. You know it should address to this list, but Esther Dyson says so well. She says, making new mistakes so here I would like not to make that mistake again. It's not mollify critics, because I have learned that that's enough when game is more of. I want my argument to be better. I want to be right, but for the right reason, and it's about educating myself primarily prose, are just amateurs who know
out of Grace Louie recover from their mistakes. I love that one because I'm a golfer and to me one of the biggest differentiating between professional and amateur besides putting is it prose, hit bad shots and they recover twice as well as an amateur. If not more. And I was curious within His- had anything to do with golf, I'm guessing no, but where this comes from and if you could give me an example, yeah the opposite of a golfer, but Emma maker, and I watched way too much Youtube tutorials in the making field. People working in workshops and it's very clear, as your watching them? If there, I am an honest youtube or use they're making mistakes over time and for the same dumb reasons that all of us make mistakes were they, just for God was upside down. And what s interesting to me is the way.
In which they have a set of tools or techniques for recovering where's. My first impulse would be. I am screwed We can start over again, and I know they're not gonna, start hooker they're going to recover from this and I also had some experience in the speech, giving talk business and I had a couple of times when you have these serve interruption to call them were the projector fails or the sound goes out or someone stars, heckling back whenever it is in so being in the audience of other people. Doing the same thing, and there was a we admired were those to whom these were not like tax or. Since at all, these were just little court In the turn, this was just another little plaque twist in the talk itself. Is the ability to recover about
Anything more than just experience, however, is there an actual skill there? It's both the pros probably have a bigger tool kit because of their experience, but I think there is a mindset, That is a tool that you can learn, which is that these little things to happen or just part of the journey that they're going to happen and that you should expect them to happen, and that you have to recover from it, and you know all the interpreters, and I know that our successful I've also adopted in the large scale, which is basically yeah, there's gonna be day when they are not can be of material. That is to be expected, and so they serve incorporate that as part of what there, Ben to listen will is a superpower. While sing to someone you love keep asking them is more until there is no more rule of thumb, in conversation to get
to the real reason, ask a person to go deeper than what they have just said. Then again and then once more. The third Times answer is close to the truth. To tell me a little bit about you. Listener, and maybe something important. You ve learned that it took a lot of listening to get there so a married. Twenty two saving more, I'm still married opium over thirty years, and I have found that talking to my kids, my wife that- the first answer, is maybe more superficial. Even oats. Genuine intent in that you have to kind of problem but more to get it reason and that even the second one is none of you have to go for third one and in the kind of we know, is or more is more. It's a very similar kind of a process where you are Voting the person to talk and your job is to listen.
You're, not judging qualifying investigating you're, simply absorbing, and that stance of being open and hearing for some people is difficult and you can learn to be better at. It is my point word how to take a twenty minute power nap without embarrassment. I was gonna taken aback by this one, because I do now daily and I'm not embarrassed. I didn't know. I was supposed to be embarrassed by napping daily work. Also an apple, in fact, I'm coming up to my laptop, but I do exactly a twenty minute nap and I found that a dish Twenty minutes allows It's a shave off two hours of sleep, so a gloomy but one thirty Even I, when thirty in the afternoon in the afternoon, twenty minutes either when six hours, and so that seems to be enough for me and you write about He had to do this without embarrassment. Do you have friends family who ridicule you for this well
Do you for so long. I guess when you're like sixty eight or seventy people cause as all Grandpa but When I was younger, it seemed like cheating or something I mean at least. I was embarrassed by the fact that I'm taking a nap, it was just the appearance of you know you couldn't kind of yours, like ok, I'm checking out, do you have any advice four lessening that stigma. There's been really good. Research lately, which shows that napping, is demonstrably a good thing for productivity, not dimension physical and mental health, and it makes sense if you look at the history of you, know, electric light and how we use to sleep, etc, etc, etc. But the stigma Blake and corporate environment still seems to be
be strong. So let's just pretend that the you know I'm a public health issue and I want to start a movement that everybody on every job around the world feels empowered to and obviously has the circumstances to. Take that twenty minute nap can you think of the biggest impediments and any ways to address them. Wool. One of the things that I know is put my wife, Taiwan is in Taiwan. It is national thing that they do. I haven't been there in a couple of years, but at least when I was in Taiwan in the afternoon Everybody in the office had put her head on the desk and was asleep, and the office is closed down. How do you make it part of the culture? If it's not? Will I think you going to do We're embarrassment, I think today, if you found a coworker, were asleep the hidden desk.
They'll be taking pictures and you knew you be the butt of Instagram Facebook, and so I think part of it is we have this says- is undignified to fall asleep at your desk, and so when we were making Wired and Canada sending the offices, what are the things that we wanted? Was a nap room, very early on and social value, nap rooms and I think more nap room to be part of culture, this is okay, we expect this. So what? If? Let's say there is a financial firm and there's all these young people who are really competitive, really smart and the ceo says no I've read the research, it's a no brainer everybody needs to take a nap every day, but then there's other to say like well, you know, I'm gonna skip the nap because uncompetitive and I want to use at twenty minutes to do more work and get ahead. It's very easy You wish take a nap. Then the CFO takes an apple for us. We taking that you're gonna take a nap
don't go taking your nap just yet more of Kevin Kelly's aphorisms are coming up right after the break and don't forget to supply. Drive to our new spin off podcast, no stupid questions. For example, radio is sponsored by better help. If you are struggling with stress, situations or depression right now. Better help is available, better health online counselling offers licensed professional councillors specialise in depression, anxiety, family consulates and more counselor securely connect through private video phone chat bore text sessions. You get help when you want it wherever you are better help is an affordable.
Option and listeners get ten percent off your first month with the discount code for economics, better HD, LP, dot, com, flash for economics How would my or your life be fundamentally different if you knew you were going to live forever? How far would you go for your dog? A lot of us have spent weeks months in some sort of isolation. Lockdown, what would you predict is one social interaction that many people will not revert to when this is all over. I'm Angela Upwards, even governor, I'm a psychologist at PAN and I run an educational nonprofit called character. You also read the book gripped yes and I'm a writer, and I hope the podcast called for Economics Review and you wrote the book for economics him on. Quite a few others did anyone. I became friends, we did
we discovered that both of us really liked to ask each other question and is only one rule the rule is there are no stupid questions. I think it's increase really hard to predict success. Do you agree to any advice for people to feel better about being alone and public? What is your biggest regret as a parent, No stupid questions is out now subscribe on stature, apple podcast wherever you listen Andy. Listen to the show ad free by subscribing to such a premium. Kevin Kelly. Is an author maker and a sort of uterus two's had a hand in shaping our online culture for the past few decades, and
Would you say the internet has turned out exactly as you and your fellow pioneers envisioned? It would be. I think it's far more powerful and pervasive what we imagined I, would say so far. The net gains have acceded net losses, I am incredibly optimistic about where we're going from here say a bit more about that net gains accede net losses, I think most people, if they stop to think about it, would agree I think, however, many people don't stop to think about it in their attention gets captured by some of the losses, of the invasions some of the noise and they think internet what a pain in the neck. So talk about the balance there it's very clear that technology does not bring us utopia that almost as many problems
are created by each new technology. S problem solved, I'm a little bit techno centric and differ from maybe the critics of technology. Because I believe that the solution to the problems that technology makes is not less technology, but better technology terms like. If I'm just sit here and utter some really dumb idea, you're, not gonna, say Kevin, you need to think less. You have a better idea, so I see the problems whatever might be from having phones kind of over their lives or the way we have surveillance in. We feel uncomfortable that these things are there in the real and may be made by technology, but that's a solution. The is not to retreat to save him.
Give us up because everybody tries it doesn't really work. It's the sellers. Do is better, let's figure out a way to civilised cigarette, awaited tame domesticated and make it better, and that will take new technology which, by the way, is gonna, make new problems a long term. The future is cited by optimists to be an optimistic I have to ignore the many problems we create you. To imagine improving our capacity to solve those problems. So let me ask you this. Many of the optimists I know happen to be. The people who were rather successful in comfortable in life and many of the pessimists I know are not so I'm various whether you think optimism is a cause,
of material comfort or a result, and if it's only a result, then maybe it's not so trust de as an indicator of where the future lies notes. For your question, but I have noticed that over Time. If you read history carefully its People who have visions about where are they? What society go those I He is in the in triumph and says there are we're trying to make things happen today. There are also people who are concerned about what, happening today want to slow it down, to stop it or to change it, but is the vision of them Builders of the makers are actually in the end, will triumph, and so I see almost like a car. It's like this to kind instrumental parts in the car there's this engine, which is,
running forward when there's the brakes and without the brakes accounts dear and so the break our essential. We need them, the engine the surgery going to determine where we go. Let's talk for second about this pandemic. There are some elements of the pandemic itself and the resultant lockdown. Where technology has been a huge help. I mean it is hard to imagine a quarantine, like this without the technology in the digital commune haitian that we're all really used to now. You know everybody. Is bring in communicating in watching Netflix and access to email in tax and so on and in medicine. You know the multiple technologies, obviously that are helping to some degree, at least in the search for therapeutics in vaccine and so on. On the other hand, text but he seems a little bit impotent in some realms like wait. We don't do.
Already- we don't have that capacity now. How can that be you, and so my wife is a book to earth for twenty three me generous, then so is very clear that biotechnology is very digital technology. We get used to the speed of digital technology and how it improves and how we can apply up and reality is so much slower. You can't really spit it out. There was no joke about trying to speed up the nine months of pregnancy by having to women. Do that and half the time, its works a kind of biological time and that, Sir, confronting, as we have this expectation of the digital era. We want this thing to happen instantly this whole thing helping faster than the speed of science happens, which is slow and requires consensus, and so I think tat. He's not letting us down insist that we have to understand that biotechnology operates in a slightly different speed in the digital age. I
anything real begins with a fiction of what it could be. Modulation, therefore, is the most potent force in the universe. In a skill you can get better at it's the way and skill in life that benefits ignoring what everybody else knows? Ok, that's interesting, an argument in favour of ignorance. Can you explain a bit further? So I'm really interesting idea what everybody knows and doesn't know because in the Silicon Valley in innovation. There is this belief, this honouring of the hero who choose she's. What everybody knows. Everybody knows you can't visible Staying in your bedroom, that's great, everybody knows you're not gonna have a business were strangers. Europe and drive around town, but it turns out that actually mean so everybody knows is true. Then it takes this process because science to check and have is very long back and forth
determine whether or not something we believe is three true, and so we have this. We have a way which we can kind of no say and I'm really interested in how we have we know things are true or not true, and it just lost. My train thought? I'm sorry, it really is napkin. I can tell you right so, but in looking at how science actually works, trying to come up with a new idea? That's moment where you actually don't want. Pay attention to that process of what we know and that moment of not being blinded by what we know or what we think we know is difficult, because We know we know because everybody else agrees with it and that kind of a group minder. That kind of a consensus is very powerful, not exempt. You know exempt from an either
I have the ban with to challenge every single statement. We have to accept most of the things around us on faith. We have to accept on the consensus trust me there is no them. What's that about that bout paranoia. Is it about discord nation, the fact that people are organised, a form of them yeah yeah both of those one? Is I'm Ty, beer, see their biggest generally MRS require a lot of coordination and to do that. Most systems in institutions Don't have Susie incompetence rather than conspiracy, so I've had the privilege to to see egos of fortune five hundred companies to be in at the highest levels of governments in three letter agencies and other kinds of things, and when you get there you hit lies there is no other supervision.
Sort of frightening and alarming. There isn't a them trying to do something to us, and I think that kind of a stance is actually harmful and is something that would diminish your chances of accompanying the things, because that kind of us versus them stance consumes way too much resources and energy, and if you there will be released on that you'll be unleashed and away. That's very, very powerful. Certain only deal right. There is no doubt In other words, take your paranoia or your conspiracy theory and set aside as one of your later aphorisms you re, the following. The universe is conspiring behind your back to make you a success. This will be much easier to do if you embrace this pro nuclear, which I gather is the opposite of paranoia. Yes, yes or no, it is exactly what I do.
Find as this idea he has his hunch that day the universe there actually out there to help you, and so this is probably the closest. I have in this list here of Closing my spiritual, religious orientation, because, actually You believe that that's all things considered There is a way in which the euro is moving towards goodness is moving towards. All the things that you want is well now not Everybody is starting at the same place and for many people even getting going in that direction is hugely difficult even behind that difficulty isn't more underlining bias in that bias is towards the things that we find
good, which means diversity, increasing option, It means a love, empathy, all those things, and you know I would make the art that that biases visible and looking at the history of the universe, which is moving in this general direction. Mentioned your spiritual and religious orientation. Can you put some labels on that? For those of us who, like labels year unrelated to put labels on a but Wikipedia, says I'm a devout christian, okay, and so that's true, but it really say very much because the crises This occurred the Universal Cosmic Christ, and so I fully endorse the idea of God There's a gun in my agenda and life is to believe in the biggest God possible specific, whereas because God winds- and so my God is a guy, That has at least this universe and he's on
these two years to be surprised by it, and so I think this our religious duty to surprise God and so one of the things that we have with our complicated consciousness is a sensible depressing. And to others and make everybody's lie more interesting in better by understanding. How they think and part of this idea of progress of more progress is that we keep widening that circle of things from our brothers and sisters to families, to a clan to a state to other ethnic groups, Two other species now enable even the long term, it will also go into machines and will be. Able to have empathy for even artificial intelligences and so from the empathy then comes good behaviour.
All the other things that we would want to be. I think in some ways stem from that primary step back. What to see the world outside of her own eyes at a really nice way of putting it, and I guess that multivariate empathy, you're describing is a form of enthusiasm, really is well, and then you know I do said, would not think any it was in an organised religion would disagree with you, especially. The Buddhist have been probably preaching for a very very long time, and I think, as we start, to change ourselves. We're gonna have to change the capillary and the framing of those beliefs, and so I think that surprise, brow by your first Darwin and Trade, and now Why is that humans are far more malleable than we thought
as we understand more about our pass, we understand that actually we have invented ourselves. Humanity is our first intention and that Humans are the first animals that we domesticated located that we're in this process still of invention. Our so we're making up what humanity is, and the question is not so much who were going to be asked, who do we want to be, which is a much more difficult question to answer. I had imagined this conversation would be fun, but it was much more fun and even I had imagined so thanks will you have great imagination. Thank you, Stephen. To read Kevin Kelly's full list, sixty eight of unsolicited advice. You can go to his website k, K, DOT, Org, forward, slash the technique, em
and you can see him dispensing advice on Youtube, just search his name and sixty eight bits of unsolicited advice and next time. Economics radio has sheltering in place protected. You from meetings mean either in virtual meetings can even worse in the regular one. So we dig into the archive for important episode how to make meetings less terrible. That's next time then take care of yourself, and if you can someone else to economics radios produced by stature in W productions, this episode is produced by Daphne Chen. Our staff also includes Allison, Craig Little Gregg ribbon. Zactly pipsqueak met Hickey, Cornwallis and married to Duke. He had hoped this week from James Foster
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Transcript generated on 2020-05-25.