I’ve been reading Robert Cialdini’s brilliant book The Psychology of Persuasion, and was struck by a comment Cialdini included from Norman Macrae, who was at the time an editor of The Economist. Keep in mind that Macrae made this comment in 1972:

The prospect is, after all, that we are going to enter an age when any duffer sitting at a computer terminal in his laboratory or office or public library or home can delve through unimaginable increased mountains of information in mass-assembly data banks with mechanical powers of concentration and calculation that will be greater by a factor of tens of thousands than was ever available to the human brain of even an Einstein.

Beside the fact that this prediction is so incredibly, spookily correct, it made me think about how we make use of this amazing technology: we watch Kim Kardashian and cat videos. We’re the dominant life form on the planet, and this is what we choose? Hmmm…

Don’t get me wrong, I love cats. I completely understand why watching funny cat videos can make you feel good. But I just think if we spent more time with this incredible technology learning to achieve positive outcomes for our world, rather than obsessing over celebrities, we’d be heading in the right direction.

That’s it, rant over.