attention, word overload & AI copyright infringement
CC#41 - being special, the impact of the metaverse on dating & dreaming of the American dream
Hey there and welcome to ✨ CuratedCuriosity - a bi-weekly newsletter delivering inspiration from all over the internet to the notoriously curious.
Things I Enjoyed Reading.
I have grown increasingly unhappy with my own phone usage - reading this article gave me the final push to ‘clean’ my phone and switch to a minimalist setup.
The more I read Stolen Focus, the more aware I became about how I’d changed. I realized that I was looking at my phone during every spare moment of the day. When I pulled up at a stoplight waiting for the light to change, I would instinctively reach for my phone (mounted on my dash) to check my email (personal + work), check ESPN, look up something on Amazon, etc. While pumping gas in the car, I’d whip out my phone while waiting. Stuck in line somewhere? Time for my phone. Waiting in an elevator? (…) Sometimes, I’d occasionally pull out my phone without any particular reason, unlock the screen, and just stare at it dumbly, not sure about which app to open. When I caught myself doing this, I was kind of shocked, but also too desensitized to act. At every spare moment of inattention, I occupied my focus with some info from my phone. Something was wrong.
While I wholeheartedly agree that information overload is an issue (see above article), I have never gone as far as questioning the benefit of the written word itself. Maybe we should read less?
Our immersion in the written word is but one ingredient in a cocktail of changes we have experienced thanks to cell phones and the Internet, and filtering out all the other factors and isolating the consequences of just text is impossible. Even if we could, we would have to account for the quality of reading too, as much of it involves skimming and darting around the page. But the sheer quantity matters. As both literacy theorists and neuroscientists attest, reading and writing have a profound effect on the way we think.
It’s a fine line between self-confidence & ambition vs. humility & realism. Some interesting thoughts on how to walk the line.
There is some criticism of millennials that goes, This is the snowflake generation, because they’ve been raised to believe they were special. I’m not sure this is true, but moreover I think there’s something so terrible about believing that you’re special. Not terrible morally—terrible for you. Because if you think you’re special, you separate yourself from others. And in so many ways I think that psychological separation is the source of all our suffering. When you believe that you are ordinary, you believe that your problems are shared and therefore surmountable. You believe that your triumphs mean something to someone else. And as a result your life improves immensely.
Food for Thought.
🤖 Midjourney is a (stunningly powerful) AI that creates images from simple prompts (I can recommend trying out the beta). Now an artist requested the service to disallow people to use her name in prompts - I assume just the beginning of a lot of ‘new’ legal questions that arise through AI services like this.
💤 Seems like the American Dream remains mostly a dream…
👾 Very interesting conversation on the implications of the metaverse for education, dating & the happiness and career satisfaction of professional gamers.
📚 In Norway there is now a Future Library, full of books by prominent writers which will only be made accessible a century after the start of the project.
🔮 Need some uplifting, good news? Read how children imagine our future
😎 Be kind (as seen on Startupy)
Still in Austria for another week, enjoying some more actual summer before going back to CPH ☀️
Spent some time reflecting on my smartphone and social media use. After reading an article (listed at the top of this newsletter), I have now installed a ‘minimalist’ app which basically replaces all app icons by words and blocks/batches notifications. I have only been using it for a few days now, but so far I like it - I have the impression that it reduces my urge to check my phone while still allowing me to make use of the full extent of all the helpful services (e.g. maps, internet etc.) a smartphone provides.
This is how my home screen and app collection look now: