We used to live in a world where propaganda worked. We all shared access to the same information, and that information came to us from above. Those who were at the top designed a worldview, and through advertising pushed an idea of what we should want.
And in that economy, overt manipulation of our desires and fears worked. Telling people stories about their teeth, and how they weren’t quite clean enough without Sensodent was effective. People listened, because they didn’t want to be the one person without Sensodent in their bathroom and fuzzy teeth.
So for the last 50 years, we mostly motivated people to buy with stories which instill fear and guilt. These have always been power’s main manipulative forces.
But then the world got flipped on its head. Our one way information stream from the top down has become an interconnected information stream. There is no longer an architect to design our desires and insecurities. Instead, we’re left to figure things out for ourselves, in a huge, constant information stream.
Now, we’ve got each other to ask, and the power of authority to tell us what’s good and bad is disappearing. With search, we can decide for ourselves whether or not a product will meet our needs.
The only reason we won’t search before deciding are because we think it will require more cognitive energy expended than the value of money saved.
Because of information freedom, we’re becoming less susceptible to the manipulations of advertising, and the overt influences of power.
And really, I don’t think advertising will be an effective medium in the foreseeable future.
Because the most dire currency in the future will be the currency of our focus. With a mostly virtual world, the true powerhouses are our minds.
Advertisements institute a real expenditure of energy. Whenever we pay attention to them, we’re not paying attention to something else.
The people who appreciate the cleanliness of their minds are already willing to pay to keep advertisements out.
Propaganda doesn’t work when everyone has access to information. The rise of internet censorship in countries is extremely telling. You can’t convince the whole population of an evil looming threat when they can just talk to the “enemy” on Facebook or Twitter.
A population having access to information is really the most dangerous threat that governments have ever faced. They have two options, either embrace the new face of authority with accountability, or close it up and break it down.
So we’ve begun to cast off those artificial personalities that were created for us, and have started to follow our own personal truths.
Apple was really the first company to respect our cognitive world. They saw, correctly, that a computer was more than just a machine, it was a way for us to manage and direct our minds. Using an Apple computer means being more focused, more creative. Because that’s the environment which Apple has created in the ethereal world of their software.
The computational power of the device we’re using no longer matters. What matters is the amount of cognitive energy that’s wasted when we work with them. Having a PC that boots up, with an Antivirus that pops up and interrupts us every five seconds, with software that has nag screens, desktop widgets that display bad information, and CPU monitors, we’re just wasting our mental energy on the non-essential.
And that’s where the real inefficiencies will lie in the future. At the gaps between ourselves and our devices. Because computers are already nearly infinitely powerful, with the cloud and internet everywhere. But the load that our devices put on our brains is very real and measurable. Bad software makes the human brain function poorly, and wastes our most precious commodity – cognitive energy.
The future belongs to those of us who build the tools for measuring and managing ourselves. Tools which allow us to approach human transcendence, and new forms of power structures. We’re outgrowing those power structures which for thousands of years manipulated us by deception and lack of information. We need new tools for us to build the next step of humanity.
What if the level of intelligence and focus of the team that built Instagram became the regular level of the population? What if billions of people instantly became just as motivated, focused, and intelligent as the 13 people who built a billion dollar company in under 2 years?
What would we humans occupy ourselves with?