We talk with author and media theorist Douglas Rushkoff, who has published 10 books on media, culture, and technology. He joins us to discuss his most recent work, Present Shock, about living in today’s immediate, always-on world.
What happens when there’s nowhere left for the market to expand? In this video segment, Douglas suggests that our views on productivity and employment themselves need to evolve as human attention becomes the new commodity. The full version of the interview can be found here.
A full transcript follows the video.
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Brendan Byrnes: Right. Another thing I want to talk about is productivity, efficiency. Do you think workers today are more efficient, more productive, with this “live in the now” era, or do they get distracted too easily?
I think everyone’s familiar with surfing Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) on work. Is this a good thing or a bad thing when you’re talking about efficiency and productivity?
Douglas Rushkoff: In some sense, if we’re going to maintain the old models, the old ways of doing business, our efficiency has become a problem. We’re more efficient now, really, than we were before, to the point where … most people are unnecessary to the jobs they have anyway, so the fact that they’re checking eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) or checking Twitter or doing something else doesn’t really affect their productivity so much, because there are not that many productive assets left — human productive assets in businesses.
The real challenge now is how we look at our productivity, how we look at employment, really, in a landscape where everything’s happening now, where everything’s happening all the time.
Byrnes: How has this evolved over time? I assume the Internet was a big catalyst in the whole “living now” thing that you talk about in Present Shock.