The Future of Angry Mobs and the End of Pitchforks

I don’t join angry mobs too often. I’m not saying I wouldn’t, but it just doesn’t happen regularly. But if I did, I probably wouldn’t grab a pitchfork. Or even a torch.

When we talk about angry mobs, why are these still the tools and implements we envision?

I think it’s time for an upgrade, at least, technologically, to our concept of angry mobs. Most people wouldn’t even know where to buy a pitchfork or a torch.

I’m sure as long as there is government corruption, inequality, suffering, or injustice, there will be angry mobs. So, these aren’t going away. But why hasn’t our definition changed?mob1

Here’s a quick list of things I think you should take if you find yourself joining an angry mob in the future. If you can think of other things, please add in the comments below. Leave your pitchforks and torches behind:


  1. Logic 101 – A textbook on constructing a logical and rational argument without emotion and fallacies. It’s easy to get caught up in the crowd and the momentum. But make sure you don’t end up losing the focus in the sea of energy. If someone confronts your angry mob and asks you probing questions, this textbook will keep you from calling them bad words and making ad hominem arguments or appealing to emotion.
  2. A list of demands that were democratically voted upon, appealed, amended, ratified, and adopted. You want the group to know what it wants. In some recent protests, the media interviewed 10 different people regarding the point of the protest, and 10 different people said 10 different things. Make sure everyone knows the talking points and why you are all joining together. The press of the opposing side is looking for cracks in your group. Don’t offer them any.
  3. A knowledge of yourself. How do you fit into this movement? Who are you beyond it and outside of it? If you’re going to say things like, “This movement is the first thing that has given my life meaning and direction,” you won’t seem like a credible witness. Make sure you know who you are, why you’re there, and how you and the mission fit together, even after the protest ends.
  4. Don’t speak in statistics. They’re hard to remember, hard to get right, always mutating, difficult for your audience to get the full picture, and easily disprovable by the other side. Tell stories that are easy for your audience to envision. Don’t speak in numbers.
  5. An understanding of Systems Theory and The Law of Unintended Consequences – Systems are complex. Government, policy, enforcement, etc. . . . are hard to understand, even for PhDs. You need to know that no mob2“wrong” has a simple solution. To stop X, do Y. Well, yeah. Sort of. Adopting a new policy, or rescinding an old policy, will cause unforeseen waves. Who will those waves impact? Are they the predetermined target? If not, can you maybe think of a better demand or policy?
  6. Who are you leaving out? To join an angry mob, at least in North America, means you are likely in some position of privilege. You may not be the richest person in your apartment complex, but you have a day off from work. You have transportation. You’re connected enough to know about the gathering. You made signs and packed a lunch. Etc. . . . . . So, look around your angry mob. Who didn’t make it? Why didn’t they make it? Can you be their voice?
  7. A theme song – Do you want to gather with hundreds of other people with a shared goal and not have a marching tune? Not me.
  8. Misc: granola bars, bottles of water, suntan lotion, bail money.
  9. And for f%$k sake, keep it peaceful.

I hope this list helps you next time the citizens of your little burg are gathering.

If you can think of anything else, I’d be happy to hear from you in the comments.

Until then, Happy Angry Mobbing.

Posted in Cultural Commentary, Futurism and the Tomorrow Mill, In the News, Politics | 2 Comments

Greetings Earthlings

The world is at a crossroads, where divergent forces are fighting for their share of input and power and hegemony.

I know. I know. People have been saying this for over one thousand years.
“We’re an important generation.”

“We are unique.”earthling1

“These are important times in which we live.”

And I hate to suffer from generational echolalia, but people, I feel these are important times that may determine the course of the world for many, many years to come.

There’s going to be a lot of debate. What advances should be made? Who gets the benefits? Why them and not me? On and on.

Okay. That’s fine.

But during these important times, I implore that we keep one thing in mind.

Whatever country you come from, whatever political ideology you feel defines you, whatever your national identity, whatever economic system you think will triumph over all the rest and save us from ruin, whatever god or gods or lack of gods you feel are benevolently watching over us, first and foremost, we are Earthlings.

earthling2We are all inhabitants of this tiny planet. And there are a lot of us. And more coming. And all of these diverse ways of life have sprung forth from Earthlings. We may think or feel or experience the world differently.

And that is fine. It’s one of the reasons why evolution is such a powerful force. We’re here because our ancestors’ genes had the decency to diversify and allow us the abilities to adapt and change.

So, let’s honor our ancestors’ genes. If you’re traveling, or shopping, or just working out at the gym.

Let’s all just be Earthlings first and all those other qualifiers second.

See you around somewhere on this tiny, blue ball.

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What Now? A Listicle

The 2016 election is over and we’re all waking up to a new reality in America and probably the world.

I don’t know what lies ahead. No one does.

My friends and I are all asking ourselves what can we do now? Perhaps you are asking the same question.

listicle2There will be much debate about this in the future. And yes, there are many battles to come.

But for now, I made a listicle. It’s a little out of the ordinary for this blog. But these are out of the ordinary times.

Here’s some things you and I can do today to continue on our quest to make tomorrow better for all people.

Join me.


  • Call out science denial

It’s becoming quite in vogue to admit you don’t believe in science. I’d like to see this trend come to an end.

Join me in telling people who are self-proclaimed “science skeptics” that we have built our modern world upon observational phenomenon. It feeds us, keeps us warm, and helps us live longer. All thanks to science. The same scientific “theories” that deniers are skeptical about are the exact same scientific theories that make planes fly, make GPS work, and inform us that smoking cigarettes is bad.

Tell science deniers the truth. They’re not skeptical about science. They’re just too lazy to take in new information and change their minds because it conflicts with their skewed point of view.


  • Call out all forms of inequality

This means both expressed or embedded within the culture.


  • Be kind

We’re all on this one planet together, one tiny sphere floating alone in the infinite, cold, harsh, void of space. If we don’t stop seeing other people as the problem, we’ll perish. All of us. So, remember, treat everyone like a fellow human. We are all individuals and worthy of it.

We all just got here to this amazing planet. We’re all trying to figure it out.


  • Make your spare time about something besides you

Donate. Give. Volunteer. Make an impact. Mentor. Listen. Help. Receive (because that is the other side of giving). Think. Read. Dream. Invent.

The road to tomorrow is full of ups and downs. Some of the battles you will win. Some of the battles you will lose first before winning them later. Remember that sadness, confusion, anger, and failure are all part of the journey to a better tomorrow. Don’t let those feelings become too defining. Recognize them, put them aside in a compartment, and fight on.


  • Take care of yourself

We need you. We need your intellect. We need your insight and problem solving. Humanity is facing some of the biggest problems it ever has. And we want you around to help the rest of us through this puzzle.


  • Take care of the planet

Earth may be the only planet we ever get. At least, it will be our only home for a long time. listicle1We need to take care of it. We need to realize that what is good for someone’s bank account may not be good for the overall planet.

Stand up for Earth. This doesn’t make you a crazy environmentalist. This makes you intelligent.


  • Make the world a slightly better place everyday

Easy enough. When you see a wrong, no matter how small, correct it.

Thanks for reading. I’m sure there are many other things I’m forgetting. Leave a comment if you can think of something else that should be on the above list.

It’s short, but full of stuff we can do every day, right now, today, to continue working toward that great future we all want to live in.

This blog post is more of a band-Aid than a cure. I don’t know how to fix the world. I don’t know what challenges lie ahead, but I do know they’re coming.

We won’t succeed if we give up.

So, let’s give up on giving up.

Get up.

Get going.

Get ready. It’s going to be tough. I hope to see you there. We’re all in this together.

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Pics Or It Didn’t Happen – A Challenge to All Flat Earth Believers

I get it. Lie detector tests are bunk science. You can trick one. They detect other indicators of a lie, but they don’t actually detect a lie.

flat1There are volumes written about their usefulness. I’m on the fence too. They can’t be 100% effective, so why even have them? Every person’s reactions to questioning are are unpredictable when hooked to a weird, briefcase-sized graphing machine.

Some psychological journals say lie detector effectiveness is about 20-70%. Other staunch proponents, like police departments, say they are 90% effective.

I have no idea. Enough about their accuracy. This debate has gone on for decades. It will be going on long after I post this.

But I still feel there could be a good use for these devices online.

Put Up Or Shut Up

It’s recently come to my attention that there is a Flat Earth movement online. There is a stupendously small amount of people who profess the world is flat. They say if the rest of us would just open our eyes and look, we would see the evidence for ourselves.

Decades ago, the Flat Earthers would’ve just sat alone in their bedrooms in relative obscurity. Today, the internet has connected them and given them a community and a voice.

I’m not even going to mention the countless reasons why any thinking human can see the Earth is round. And I definitely don’t want to tackle the Flat-Earther claims point by point. You can read them yourself if you’re interested. But I warn you, once you read a few, you’re going to get a migraine at the least.

The sad part is many of these Flat Earthers produce videos and blog posts. They “debunk” the claims of NASA and science, saying the spherical Earth is just a hoax to control the weak minds of the average citizen. Although, not one single purpose comes to mind as to why a government would want its citizens so in the dark about the planet they live upon. But, when you start asking questions of common sense, you’re already outside the realm where Flat Earthers dwell.

People watch these preposterous videos and congratulate their creators in the comments flat2section for helping us see the “truth”. Oh, how our eyes have been blinded by science, the government, and made-up space agencies.

So, here’s my proposal. I’m not actually convinced that all of the Flat Earthers are sincere. I think they’re hoaxing us too.

From now on, Flat Earthers, if you actually want me to listen to your outrageous claims, you need to post a picture of yourself holding the results for your polygraph test. And yes, they need to indicate that some of the questions asked of you were about the Flat Earth, and you better have passed those questions.

Because, let’s face it, anyone can make a YouTube video. The video can be outrageous. It can be full of ignorance and misinformation. But the creator doesn’t have to believe a word of it.

I think the word is “Troll”. These Flat Earthers are trolling us. Don’t engage with them. Don’t encourage them. Don’t dispute their “claims”. Because, they don’t care if they’re right or wrong. They’re looking for reactions. And the more uproarious the critics, the better these trolls feel. Their job is just to rile you. Not inform you.

So, Flat Earthers, if you had any integrity, when you post your next Flat Earth video, you will include a picture of yourself holding your polygraph results.

And if you want to be over the top, post a video of you taking your polygraph with a respected lie detector expert.

If you think a test is too expensive, we’ll crowdfund the payment for you. I’ll even chip in.

I just need to know. ARE YOU FOR REAL?

If you pass, if you sincerely hold these beliefs, if you are truly misguided in your thinking that the Earth is flat, then we can talk. We have something real to debate. I’ll be interested in listening.

But until you prove you’re not a troll, shut the hell up. You’re polluting the internet, the round Earth’s greatest invention, with your ignorant twaddle.

Until then, I’ll remain in orbit.

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50 + Infinity Shades of Grey

Dear Humans,

We’re entering into a time when the world is becoming more binary. It’s this or that. A or B. One or zero.

There is never a between in a binary world.

The systems that govern our lives will basically be computer automation. Algorithms. On or off.

binary1The binary world is slowly taking over our previously human society. The choices of homo Sapiens were once the only ones that mattered. This is no longer true.

Please Remember the Grey

This is what we humans do best. I call the “grey” the infinite choices that lie between any two points on a number line. The “grey” is what comes between the 1s and 0s. The nuanced meanings that a computer will never be able to grasp. The subtle hints only a human could pick up on.

Artificial intelligences [AI] will be ruled by their binary programming. To AI, there is no grey.

But going forth into the future, seeing the grey may be one of the few things that humans will do better than computers. Computer programs will be either “this” or “that”. That’s all. They’ll appear brilliant. They will seem to have super intelligence. But that’s because they can run through a complicated algorithm in less than a millisecond. They can choose thousands of “A or B” scenarios before a human can even read a short sentence.

So, remember, stop the knee jerks. Stop the obvious reactions. Stop giving canned affectations. Stop being predictable. Drop the false outrage. Because, it’s exactly that: false.

AI will be able to do all of those things just fine. And even make it look quite authentic and random and arbitrary. That will be the beauty of AI.

Drop all thinking that labels something as “this” or “that”. You’re probably wrong. And binary2sadly, when you think in that binary way, you are thinking exactly like a computer. But a world run by AI won’t need more binary thinking. It’ll need more human thinking.

Gladly, AI will never be able to see the meaning between the choices. The complexity and messiness of life. Giving someone a second chance. Forgiveness. That sometimes even the best of intentions fall flat on their faces and fail the ones who they were meant to help. On and on, I could go on.

Just remember to read between the lines, the grey between the binary choices. That’s the only job that will be left for us humans to do in a world run by Artificial Intelligences.

Good thing, we do it so well.

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It’s Time To Give Artificial Intelligences A Job

The problem with human minds and brains is they have many blind spots. And much of the time, they lack the cognitive powers to recognize their own shortcomings. So, we’re doubly blind.

One of the best uses for Artificial Intelligence [AI] I can think of is that it will help us find alien

life forms. Humans can’t even think up all the ways and methods that we’re failing to think up regarding the search for aliens. In other words, we don’t even know what we don’t know.

Boy with hands covering eyes playing hide and seek

Boy with hands covering eyes playing hide and seek

In our search for other intelligences, we tend to only look for other beings that would think like us; are evolved like us; carbon-based and water and oxygen dependent. Perhaps that is how intelligent life out there actually is and how it must evolve. But I doubt it.

AI To The Rescue

Artificial Intelligence and machine brains will be the closest thing we have on this planet to alien intelligences. If we need brains that think differently than humans to locate life that thinks differently than humans, perhaps AI will reveal some new paths?

If intelligent beings really do leave footprints across the universe, maybe listening for radio waves might not be the best way to find these traces. Well, listening for radio waves is just fine. But there’s likely hundreds of other “footprints” we could be looking for if we only knew where to begin.

Job Offer

If you are involved in the search for intelligent life around the universe, and you post a job ai1offer, be open minded. Perhaps one of the applicants will be a computer software mind. It won’t much care for office politics or popularity contests or fashion.

But it will give you insight into intelligence possessed by beings other than Homo Sapiens. It may show you how other creatures elsewhere might think. And those insights will be priceless.

As long as we search for alien life forms that are exactly like us, think like us, possess our exact technologies, and evolved like us, we may never find them. Because real aliens are probably vastly different from us in both corporeal and philosophical systems.

All we need are some new ideas. Hurry up, AI. The universe is so lonely. It’s like a giant hide and seek game out there in the cold vacuum, and our friends likely have a massive head start.

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Why Don’t Futurists Run For President?

Because a campaign platform that says “Many of the current ‘issues’ you are frothing over at the mouth will be nearly irrelevant in a few minutes, months, or years” doesn’t get you many votes. A politician can never tell their constituency they are stupid and the things they are super concerned about make no difference.

Sure, there will always be important debates. Racial and economic inequality; the assault on science; where will humans live once we finally ruin our planet beyond repair? These are worth arguing about.

But the scandals, the squabbles, the controversies, the insults, the shockers and back-handed compliments and gotchya questions, the misspoken speeches, fad topics, the vogue positions, we won’t be able to recall any of this next year. So, did any of it matter?

Think back to any election that happened more than five years ago. Remember the dozens vote1and dozens of important issues the candidates debated? Remember how their speeches changed the world? Of course not. They were temporary distractions. Some of the topics likely came true. Most of them did not. But pointing this out makes you sound like a futurist, and futurists don’t run for office.

Because to be a winning politician, you have to care about the important issues. And how do you know if something is important? The public tells you what’s important, even when it’s not. And then you have to care about that important issue, because people who vote for you care about it.

But a futurist knows even the most informed, well-intentioned member of the greater public is mostly wrong much of the time. Including myself writing this piece.

It would be quite a paradoxical position. A futurist president would live both theoretically and philosophically with tomorrow’s values, while campaigning in the present. She would know that most of the ‘current’ issues are really just past issues, reverberations, echoes from a yesterday that continues to ebb back to our present.

Imagine a presidential, mayoral, congressional, or gubernatorial candidate say the following:

“Nearly none of today’s political posturing, that doesn’t involve furthering science or becoming a more equitable world, even matters. So remember to vote for me.”

We would be able to count her votes on one hand.

vote2At least in America, emotions are what drive many voters to cast a ballot. But emotions are temporary. They’re very immediate but won’t really serve you tomorrow. A futurist would know not to get bogged down in all of the daily outrages.

“Where are the real futurists?” you ask. Good question. Let’s go find them.

***** Author’s note: Yes. I know about Zoltan Istvan. I’ve read his book. I enjoy what he’s doing. He’ll know better than anyone how hard it is to be a serious political candidate, focused on extending people’s lives when all the other candidates just want to make ad hominem attacks against each other. *****

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