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    507. 103 Pieces of Advice That May or May Not Work

    As we move towards a future where our survival needs are met, the question of who we want to be as humans becomes more important. AI can help us answer this question, but we must also consider the potential of blockchain technology beyond cryptocurrency.

    en-usJune 16, 2022

    About this Episode

    Kevin Kelly calls himself “the most optimistic person in the world.” And he has a lot to say about parenting, travel, A.I., being luckier — and why we should spend way more time on YouTube.

    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Kevin Kelly's 103 pieces of advice, ranging from parenting to the future, offer valuable insights while demonstrating the power of conveying meaningful messages in fewer words.
    • Optimism is crucial in making progress for a better world. Acknowledging problems while being positive about the future is essential for growth and development.
    • While it's easy to get bogged down in negative news and social media validation, cultivating respectful relationships and actively seeking value in others can foster optimism and open-mindedness. Give second chances and seek exceptions to the rule.
    • Being intentional about our habits, seeking new experiences, and using positive reinforcement can help shape our identity, yield better job references, and encourage good behavior in others.
    • We are making moral progress as a society, but still need improvements in the way we deal with criminal behavior. We must acknowledge the role of luck in our success more often.
    • While luck certainly plays a role in success, individuals can take steps to increase their odds by adopting a positive mindset and actively seeking out new opportunities. Growth often requires uncomfortable conversations and active listening, but the rewards can be profound.
    • Reflect back what someone is saying to be a great conversationalist. Reading plaques can provide interesting and enriching stories. Long-term thinking is crucial for effective problem-solving, even if scarcity influences decision-making.
    • If we had infinite life, we would approach projects that span generations and value physical experiences. We must prioritize preserving knowledge beyond digital means vulnerable to damage such as solar flares.
    • Curating and structuring human knowledge for accessibility should be a global initiative, with a need to develop tools for improving online information. Understanding ourselves and others is crucial, and neuroscience and AI may help. Astonishment can prevent old age.
    • YouTube is a valuable learning tool, but advice should be taken with a grain of salt. Instead of rules, consider advice as suggestions. Promoting critical thinking is essential for problem-solving and innovation.
    • As we move towards a future where our survival needs are met, the question of who we want to be as humans becomes more important. AI can help us answer this question, but we must also consider the potential of blockchain technology beyond cryptocurrency.
    • Decentralized systems may not be efficient, and the benefits of blockchain technology is yet to be determined. We need to examine the practical uses of blockchain and how it can benefit individuals before investing blindly.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    Longest-Reigning Monarch and Expert Advice for Commoners

    Queen Elizabeth II is the longest-reigning monarch in British history with 70 years on the throne. While she has advisors to seek advice from, for the rest of us commoners, we can turn to experts like Kevin Kelly. Kelly is a senior maverick at Wired magazine and has written numerous books on how humans intersect with technology. He has published a list of 103 pieces of advice on his website in celebration of his 70th birthday. Kelly's advice includes tips on parenting, travel, and the future. The challenge for writers is to convey something meaningful in fewer words, which Kelly has brilliantly achieved in his list of advice.

    Optimism as a Moral Duty - Kevin Kelly's Take

    Kevin Kelly, a well-known personality in the tech industry, advocates that being optimistic is a moral duty. He believes that optimism is essential to make the world a better place, and it helps us pre-visualize the kind of world we want; thereby, making progress possible. Kelly also points out that although progress is often invisible, looking back at history reveals that things have been getting better for most of the things we care about over time. He explains that optimism is not about closing our eyes to the problems but about understanding that problems propel progress. Kelly's conviction that progress is real, and the world will continue to get better is a testament to his ever-increasing optimism.

    Optimism in the Face of Negativity: Kevin Kelly's Guide to Fostering Positive Relationships and Recognizing Value in Others

    Being optimistic requires recognizing the bias in media towards reporting negative events while disregarding positive ones. Kevin Kelly's list of advice emphasizes cultivating relationships based on respect rather than seeking validation through social media. Additionally, Kelly advises finding value amidst the seemingly inferior majority by actively seeking and giving second chances. Though research shows that most people tend to settle into preferences over time, Kelly reminds that it's worth it to keep an open mind and actively seek the exceptions to the rule.

    The Importance of Mindful Habits, Seeking Variety, and Positive Reinforcement.

    It's important to be mindful of the habits and routines we form over time, as they shape our identity. To stay fluid and open to new experiences as we age, we should deliberately seek out variety. This can include changing up our daily routines, trying new foods and music, and seeking out new experiences. When it comes to checking references for a job applicant, it can be helpful to use a specific phrasing that asks for a glowing recommendation, rather than asking for a neutral assessment. This can yield more useful information. Finally, when it comes to encouraging good behavior in children or animals, it's often more effective to focus on positive reinforcement rather than punishment.

    The Confusion Surrounding Criminal Behavior and Punishment

    Society is confused about how to deal with criminal behavior and the intentions of punishment, rehabilitation, and restitution are not clear. However, moral progress shows that we are improving as a species and are still domesticating ourselves. While we need police and a place for people to go, there is a lot of room for improvement in the current system. Additionally, we tend to underestimate the role of luck in our own success and need to acknowledge it more often.

    Creating Your Own Luck: Strategies for Success

    Luck plays a significant role in success, but individuals can choose their luck. Expecting good luck can lead to self-fulfilling prophecies and increase the likelihood of success. Great opportunities may not always be obvious and may be disguised as problems or challenges. Growth as a person is facilitated by having uncomfortable conversations, which can be trained, and by actively listening to others. Sensitive topics should not be avoided as people are often waiting to discuss them, and actively listening can lead to deeper connections and understanding.

    The Art of Active Listening and Long-Term Thinking

    Active listening is crucial for being a great conversationalist and is achieved by sincerely reflecting back what the person is saying. Kevin Kelly encourages always reading plaques next to monuments, as they provide interesting and enriching stories. He believes that plaques will become more interactive in the future with the rise of the metaverse. As a founding board member of the Long Now Foundation, Kelly emphasizes the importance of long-term thinking and problem-solving, which would likely be altered if one were to live for an extremely long time. Scarcity influences decision-making, but long-term thinking can lead to better solutions.

    The Impact of Infinite Life on Behavior and Preservation of Knowledge

    If life were not finite, it would change our behavior and perspective towards the world. With such a long lifespan, we could engage in intergenerational projects that are more significant and enduring, like building cathedrals or creating a 10,000-year library that collects and preserves knowledge beyond current digital means. Moreover, longevity could lead us to embrace physicality and sensation, such as enjoying more ice cream. Ultimately, we need to grapple with preserving information for the civilization's development rather than relying on digital means that are vulnerable to damage and inaccessibility, including from solar flares.

    The Planetary Project of Curating Human Knowledge and Understanding Ourselves Better

    Curating the archive of all human knowledge and structuring it to make it accessible to all should be a planetary project. The lack of a backup for the internet is concerning. Moreover, there is a need to develop tools that enable improving information on YouTube similar to Wikipedia. Understanding others is a challenge because we only see 2% of them and ourselves as well. Seeking a deeper understanding by acknowledging that we don't see the whole picture is key. Neuroscience and AI may provide new tools to help us understand ourselves better. Astonishment is crucial for preventing old age.

    The Power of YouTube and the Importance of Thinking

    YouTube is an underrated platform that has a significant influence on culture and accelerating learning. When it comes to advice, it's important to understand that it's not infallible and may only work for specific individuals. Instead of rules, advice should be seen as 'stuff that worked for me, it might work for you.' There's a need for more people to reduce and extract their knowledge into something transferable. Encouraging people to spend more time thinking is crucial, even in a digital world where decisions are often made for us. Civilization advances to the extent that we don't have to think about certain things, but actively promoting thinking can help us solve new problems and create innovative solutions.

    The Role of AI in Self-Realization and Collective Identity

    As a society, we will gradually shift our attention from basic survival needs towards self-realization and collective identity. Artificial intelligence will play a significant role in helping us answer the fundamental question of who we want to be as humans. However, the widespread use of cryptocurrencies for financial purposes is currently dominating the conversation, overshadowing the potential utility of the underlying blockchain technology, which Kevin Kelly believes is a true innovation that can transform various aspects of our lives in the future.

    Tensions and Contradictions in the World of Crypto

    Crypto is facing tensions and contradictions, such as trying to reverse the network effect and benefiting early adopters first. Decentralized systems are inherently inefficient, and it remains to be seen if the cost of inefficiency is worth the benefits. Blockchain may become like plumbing - an essential but unsexy part of our lives. As the hype around blockchain continues, it is important to evaluate its practical uses and how it can benefit individuals.

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