YANSS 172 – Douglas Rushkoff implores us to curate a digital, psychedelic substrate that embraces the messiness of human beings

In this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast we sit down with one of the original cyberpunks, the famed journalist, documentarian, media theorist, all-around technology superstar and weirdo, Douglas Rushkoff.

MIT considers Rushkoff one of the “world’s ten most influential thinkers,” and in the episode we talk about his latest (and 20th) book, Team Human

The book is a bit of a manifesto in which he imagines a new counterculture that would revolt against the algorithms that are slowly altering our collective behavior for the benefit of shareholders.

He implores us, instead, to curate a digital, psychedelic substrate that embraces the messiness of human beings: our unpredictability, our pursuit of novelty and innovation, and our primate/animal/social connectedness.


The book is presented in a series of aphorisms that add up to a rallying cry for building communities outside of what the machines that tend our walled gardens might suggest we build. As the title suggests, he would prefer that we turned our technological attention to encouraging and facilitating teamwork.

In the book, he says that any technology whose initial purpose is to connect people will eventually become colonized and repurposed to repress and isolate them. But, the good news is that we’ve seen this pattern so often that we can now stop it in its tracks and choose to build something else. In the interview, you’ll hear what his thoughts are on all this — and much more.

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Douglas Rushkoff is a professor of Media Theory and Digital Economics at the City University of New York and a titan of technology journalism who coined the terms viral media, digital native, and social currency. His bestsellers include Coercion, Present Shock, Throwing Rocks and the Google Bus, Program or Be Programmed, Life Inc, and Media Virus, and his famed PBS Frontline documentaries include Generation Like, The Persuaders, and Merchants of Cool. His latest project is the Team Human podcast.


Links and Sources

Download – iTunes – Stitcher – RSS – Soundcloud

Previous Episodes

Douglas Rushkoff’s Official Website

Douglas Rushkoff’s Twitter

The World’s Most Influential Thinkers

Team Human Podcast

Team Human Book

Generation Like