53 Quotes of Douglas Rushkoff

” Marketers use big data profiling to predict who is about to get pregnant, who is likely to buy a new car, and who is about to change sexual orientations. That’s how they know what ads to send to whom. The NSA, meanwhile, wants to know who is likely to commit an act of terrorism – and for this, they need us. “
” Social media is itself as temporary as any social gathering, nightclub or party. It’s the people that matter, not the venue. So when the trend leaders of one social niche or another decide the place everyone is socializing has lost its luster or, more important, its exclusivity, they move on to the next one, taking their followers with them. “
” When things begin accelerating wildly out of control, sometimes patience is the only answer. Press pause. “
” We all know the feeling of surrendering to the embedded biases of our devices. We let our cell phones ping us every time there’s an incoming message and check our e-mail even when we’d best pay attention to what’s going on around us in the real world. We text while driving. “
” Your email inbox is a bit like a Las Vegas roulette machine. You know, you just check it and check it, and every once in a while there’s some juicy little tidbit of reward, like the three quarters that pop down on a one-armed bandit. And that keeps you coming back for more. “
” The horrible truth is we are linear beings; we can’t multitask, and we shouldn’t keep interrupting important connections to each other with the latest message coming in. “
” Web sites are designed to keep young people from using the keyboard, except to enter in their parents’ credit card information. “
” Walkman was the precursor to the cell phone, in terms of your strategy for getting through the urban landscape and the modern experience. Insulate yourself from it with your own soundscape. “
” People are seduced by signals from the world, but that is manipulation, not reality. Computers have learned more about us than we’ve learned about them. “
” I find myself unable to let go of the sense that human beings are somehow special, and that moment-to-moment human experience contains a certain unquantifiable essence. I still suspect there is something too quirky, too paradoxical, or too interpersonal to be imitated or re-created by machine life. “
” I find myself unable to let go of the sense that human beings are somehow special, and that moment-to-moment human experience contains a certain unquantifiable essence. I still suspect there is something too quirky, too paradoxical, or too interpersonal to be imitated or re-created by machine life. “
” Since the 1960s, mainstream media has searched out and co-opted the most authentic things it could find in youth culture, whether that was psychedelic culture, anti-war culture, blue jeans culture. Eventually heavy metal culture, rap culture, electronica – they’ll look for it and then market it back to kids at the mall. “
” We know that people are less open in conversations if the other conversant puts a cell phone on the table. Even if it’s turned off. The sign is enough to close the mind and make a prospective client or lover less likely to do what you ask. As people realize this, they’ll start putting away phones or turning them off. “
” Open source is a beautiful way of collaborating; but what’s happening on the free Internet is more akin to the ‘crowdsourcing’ of journalists and other content creators by advertisers who no longer have to pay them – only the search engines that parse their articles. “
” Google did a great job hacking the Web to create search – and then monetizing search with advertising. And Apple did a great job humanizing hardware and software so that formerly daunting computers and applications could become consumer-friendly devices – even a lifestyle brand. “
” Once everyone is connected to everyone and everything else, nothing matters anymore. If everyone in the world is your Facebook friend, then why have any Facebook friends at all? We’re back where we started. The ultimate complexity is just another entropy. “
” Brains are tricky and adaptable organs. For all the ‘neuroplasticity’ allowing our brains to reconfigure themselves to the biases of our computers, we are just as neuroplastic in our ability to eventually recover and adapt. “
” In the industrial age and in analog clocks, a minute is some portion of an hour which is some portion of a day. You know, in the digital age, a minute is just a number. It’s just 3:23. It’s almost this absolute duration that doesn’t have a connection to where the sun is or where our day is. “
” Microsoft’s new OS, Windows 7, may finally be a worthy successor to XP, eliminating the clutter of Vista and letting users get to what they want to use without the fuss. All this, while remaining compatible with their IT departments’ demands for scalability and custom implementations. “
” When Steve Jobs toured Xerox PARC and saw computers running the first operating system that used Windows and a mouse, he assumed he was looking at a new way to work a personal computer. He brought the concept back to Cupertino and created the Mac, then Bill Gates followed suit, and the rest is history. “
” In the digital universe, our personal history and its sense of narrative is succeeded by our social networking profile – a snapshot of the current moment. The information itself – our social graph of friends and likes – is a product being sold to market researchers in order to better predict and guide our futures. “
” The iPad – contrary to the way most people thought about it – is not a tablet computer running the Apple operating system. It’s more like a very big iPhone, running the iPhone operating system. “
” In spite of my own reservations about Bing’s ability to convert Google users, I have to admit that the search engine does offer a genuine alternative to Google-style browsing, a more coherently organized selection of links, and a more advertiser-friendly environment through which to sell space and links. “
” Beyond the hype, style, and speculation, the truth is that the iPad is really just another tablet device. A really big PDA, where a touchscreen does what a laptop’s keyboard used to do. “
” We Facebook users have been building a treasure lode of big data that government and corporate researchers have been mining to predict and influence what we buy and for whom we vote. We have been handing over to them vast quantities of information about ourselves and our friends, loved ones and acquaintances. “
” Many billboards and magazine ads have resorted to showing isolated body parts rather than full-body portraits of models using or wearing products. This style of photography, known in the industry as abstract representation, allows the viewer to see himself in the advertisement, rather than the model. “
” Part of an icon’s power comes from its indivisibility. The swoosh cannot be further deconstructed into its component parts. Just as golden arches mean McDonald’s, and the little red tab means Levi’s, the swoosh is Nike. The product is its icon, inseparably and without exception. To buy a pair of Nike shoes is to buy the Nike swoosh. “
” What’s it like to envision the ten-thousand-year environmental impact of tossing a plastic bottle into the trash bin, all in the single second it takes to actually toss it? Or the ten-thousand-year history of the fossil fuel being burned to drive to work or iron a shirt? It may be environmentally progressive, but it’s not altogether pleasant. “
” The early cyberpunk idea was that networked computers would let us do our work at home, as freelancers, and then transact directly with peers over networks. Digital technology would create tremendous slack, allow us to apply its asynchronous, decentralized qualities to our own work and lives. “
” I think there can be a positive sort of futurism even in a presentist society. But I think it’s a kind of futurism that envisions augmenting human ability and intellect rather than creating some artificial machine intelligence that displaces us. “
” Remember when those CD-ROMs from AOL came in the mail almost every day? The company was considered ubiquitous, invincible. Former AOL CEO Steve Case was no less a genius than Mark Zuckerberg. “
” I don’t think tablets are where we should be focused. But I do think they could end up being an efficient way of delivering textbooks. They’re just not really that, yet. There’s all sorts of poisons and mined minerals and carnage that goes on to make a tablet. Way more than to print a book. Or a bunch of books. “
” The hours Facebook users put into their profiles and lists and updates is the labor that Facebook then sells to the market researchers and advertisers it serves. “
” ‘Digiphrenia’ is really the experience of trying to exist in more than one incarnation of yourself at the same time. There’s your Twitter profile, there’s your Facebook profile, there’s your email inbox. And all of these sort of multiple instances of you are operating simultaneously and in parallel. “
” Most simply, ‘present shock’ is the human response to living in a world that’s always on real time and simultaneous. You know, in some ways it’s the impact of living in a digital environment, and in other ways it’s just really what happens when you stop leaning so forward to the millennium and you finally arrive there. “
” Invest in people who will take care of you when you’re old. “
” As popular culture becomes more presentist, we move away from entertainment as the vicarious experience of a narrative – as watching someone else’s story – and much more toward enacting one’s own story. Moving away from myths and toward fantasy role-playing games, away from movies and toward videogames. “
” While learning to code may have once been an arduous or expensive process, the college dropouts who developed Codecademy have democratized coding as surely as Gutenberg democratized text. Anyone can go to Codecademy and start learning and creating code through their simple, fun, interactive window, for free. “
” It’s not that MySpace lost and Facebook won. It’s that MySpace won first, and Facebook won next. They’ll go down in the same order. “
” Digital media are biased toward replication and storage. Our digital photos practically upload and post themselves on Facebook, and our most deleted e-mails tend to resurface when we least expect it. Yes, everything you do in the digital realm may as well be broadcast on prime-time television and chiseled on the side of the Parthenon. “
” As a writer and sometime activist who needs to promote my books and articles and occasionally rally people to one cause or another, I found Facebook fast and convenient. Though I never really used it to socialize, I figured it was OK to let other people do that, and I benefited from their behavior. “
” Facebook has never been merely a social platform. Rather, it exploits our social interactions the way a Tupperware party does. Facebook does not exist to help us make friends, but to turn our network of connections, brand preferences and activities over time – our ‘social graphs’ – into money for others. “
” The true end users of Facebook are the marketers who want to reach and influence us. They are Facebook’s paying customers; we are the product. And we are its workers. The countless hours that we – and the young, particularly – spend on our profiles are the unpaid labor on which Facebook justifies its stock valuation. “
” I am much less concerned with whatever it is technology may be doing to people that what people are choosing to do to one another through technology. Facebook’s reduction of people to predictively modeled profiles and investment banking’s convolution of the marketplace into an algorithmic battleground were not the choices of machines. “
” If the end of the twentieth century can be characterized by futurism, the twenty-first can be defined by presentism. “
” The ‘looking forward’ so prevalent in the late 1990s was bound to end once the new millennium began. Like some others of that era, I predicted a new focus on the moment, on real experience, and on what things are actually worth right now. Then 9/11 magnified this sensibility, forcing America as a nation to contend with its own impermanence. “
” Treating an age group as a demographic requires coming up with something that’s common to every single one of them. Right?… So it’s reductionist in that it reduces an entire segment of civilization down to one person with one habit. “
” Napster is a consumer revolt. Napster is about my right to have this music and to share if I’ve paid for it. You know, so we start to see our decisions, our opportunities, our every choice is a consumer choice. “
” Children are being adultified because our economy is depending on them to make purchasing decisions. So they’re essentially the victims of a marketing and capitalist machine gone awry. “
” Marketers spend millions developing strategies to identify children’s predilections and then capitalize on their vulnerabilities. Young people are fooled for a while, but then develop defense mechanisms, such as media-savvy attitudes or ironic dispositions. Then marketers research these defenses, develop new countermeasures, and on it goes. “
” The liberation children experience when they discover the Internet is quickly counteracted by the lure of e-commerce web sites, which are customized to each individual user’s psychological profile in order to maximize their effectiveness. “
” No matter how much control kids get over the media they watch, they are still utterly powerless when it comes to the manufacturing of brands. Even a consumer revolt merely reinforces one’s role as a consumer, not an autonomous or creative being. “
” Once a teen has been identified as part of the ‘target market,’ he knows he’s done for. The object of the game is to confound the marketers, and keep one’s own, authentic culture from showing up at the shopping mall as a prepackaged corporate product. “