Howard Rheingold: "People Got to Be Free”
This Week's Guest: Howard Rheingold
ABOUT THIS EPISODE
“Where minds meet technology” is the overarching theme of this fascinating dive with modern-day prophet Howard Rheingold. Along with others like Doug Engelbart, Stewart Brand, and Alan Kay, he has been predicting how technology and humanity intersect since the 60s. Howard coined the term “virtual community” and served as Editor for the Whole Earth Catalog, which he calls, “a touchstone of the belief that we could improve things,” in addition to writing several books, teaching, speaking, and generally thinking in ways others don’t.
We explore two mind-boggling offshoots of this theme: 1) how do psychedelics play into the history of the conception of the internet, digital media, and virtual reality and 2) how are humans responding, as a society, to the technological advances we now enjoy?’
If you’re not sure what the Whole Earth catalog is, or who Engelbart was, or why you should care about how a network connecting all humans was conceived, just know that the late 60s was a time when everything was in upheaval, but just enough people responded with optimism, mind-blowing ideas, and, with help from a little well-placed LSD, the seeds of what would grow into our current technological reality.
And when Howard answers a question, get ready to jump into historically-rich rabbit holes and emerge with a list of books to buy and mid-century thinkers to read about.
BOOKS AND LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
Higher Creativity: Liberating the Unconscious for Breakthrough Insights by Howard Rheingold and Willis Harman
Alan Kay’s article in Scientific American “Microelectronics in the Personal Computer"
Future Shock by Alvin Toffler
Self Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Shoshana Zuboff and The Age of Surveillance Capitalism
From Counterculture to Cyberculture by Fred Turner
Doug Engelbart’s “Mother of All Demos” video— the world debut of personal and interactive computing in 1968!
William Calvin on the evolution of the brain
More About Our Guest
Independent Instigator & Observer
Howard Rheingold is a writer, speaker, and teacher, known for his specialties on the cultural, social and political implications of modern communication media such as the Internet, mobile telephony and virtual communities (a term he is credited with inventing).
Howard’s earliest books were Tools for Thought: The History and Future of Mind-Amplifiers (1984), Virtual Reality (1991), and The Virtual Community (1993).
In 1994, Howard was one of the principal architects and the first Executive Editor of HotWired.
Howard was a winner in MacArthur Foundation’s Digital Media and Learning competition and used the award to work with a developer to create a free and open source social media classroom.
Howard’s blogs on learning and teaching 21st c. literacies for SFGate, as well as interviews and talks on the subject.
Howard’s latest book, Net Smart: How to Thrive Online, published in 2012
Online courses at Rheingold U and