Friday, March 19, 2010

Abundance Breaks More Things than Scarcity

I just got back from SXSW earlier this week. reMail had been nominated as a SXSW Accelerator finalist, and while I couldn't present reMail anymore, I already had the plane ticket and figured I might as well go.

One of the best talks was by Clay Shirky, who I have a huge braincrush on.

His best point was that abundance breaks more things than scarcity. Humans have been trained for tens of thousands of years to deal with scarcity: We put on a price on scarce items, we manage their distribution, and if they're necessary for life or safety, we've established political systems to make sure they're provided.

But now we're overwhelmed. Yes, atoms are getting cheaper and we all own much more stuff than we used to. But the real flood comes in bits and bytes. Our brains were just not made to handle all of it. I wonder if humans will evolve first, or technologies to manage the overload.

No comments: