We’re big fans of New York Times’ tech columnist Farhad Manjoo. So we’re thrilled to see his latest column, “Expect 2018 to Be More Sane? Sorry, It’s Not Going to Happen” (print headline: “In 2018, Expect Chaos To Be the New Normal”) because his predictions are in line with ones we made Dec. 14, 2017.
For example, in his Jan. 4th column, Manjoo said, “You’re fooling yourself if you think 2018 is going to be any different, sanity- or anxiety-wise, from the roller coaster of the year just concluded.” We agree — especially the part about anxiety-wise because in we said, “People will be more anxious and angry” in 2018.
Going further, we said:
The ‘60s may have been the Age of Aquarius but this decade seems to be the Age of Anxiety and Anger. One cause: screen addiction. Constantly clicking our smartphones for the latest news – and it seems that there’s continually breaking news – may help us feel we’re on top of the situation but it leaves most of us feeling more empty, worried and angry than before – despite political preferences. We anticipate more coverage on stress, anxiety, mental health and ways to de-stress, which includes taking a break from your device – aka a technology cleanse or digital detox – which is healthy and a good idea but may seem impossible to do.
How does Manjoo describe things?
Chaos is the new normal; the apprehension you feel every time you get a notification on your phone — the fear that you don’t know what fresh horror it could bring — isn’t an overreaction but an adaptation. Thanks to phones and Facebook, anything really could happen tomorrow.
We really like that — as a phrase, not the reality of it: Chaos is the new normal. And “the fear you don’t know what fresh horror it could bring” — very compellingly written, but his capturing the same thing we did…just we got there a couple of weeks earlier.
There were days in which there was major news several times a day. We expect that to continue in 2018 – and that when there’s a slow news day – let’s say only one big news story – consumers of news anxiously click on refresh, thinking they must be missing some additional news. Regardless of political views, people, including late-night comedians are finding this exhausting.
According to Manjoo, the implications of all this is that “Nowadays, because we’re hyperconnected, we see butterfly effects everywhere…but it’s not just that one-off stories cause huge cascades; it’s that in a connected world, there are now so many one-off stories capable of setting off cascades, and no one knows which ones will hit.”
The problem with that, Manjoo said, “Technology isn’t stopping. The pace of technological change is in many cases too fast for anyone of us to comprehend or get used to; as a result, just as the world seems to get its head around one new force unleashed by tech, another comes along to discombobulate our efforts to respond to it.”
That is one reason many of us are so anxious these days.
Again, we don’t like where this is going but we’re glad we’re seeing the world the same way as Manjoo.