Porchlight’s Management and Workplace Culture Book of The Year
“[A] thoroughly fascinating exploration of the long interplay between power and the technologies of communication.” —Adam Frank, NPR
Team Human is a manifesto—a fiery distillation of preeminent digital theorist Douglas Rushkoff’s most urgent thoughts on civilization and human nature. In one hundred lean and incisive statements, he argues that we are essentially social creatures, and that we achieve our greatest aspirations when we work together—not as individuals. Yet today society is threatened by a vast antihuman infrastructure that undermines our ability to connect. Money, once a means of exchange, is now a means of exploitation; education, conceived as way to elevate the working class, has become another assembly line; and the internet has only further divided us into increasingly atomized and radicalized groups.
Team Human delivers a call to arms. If we are to resist and survive these destructive forces, we must recognize that being human is a team sport. In Rushkoff’s own words: “Being social may be the whole point.” Harnessing wide-ranging research on human evolution, biology, and psychology, Rushkoff shows that when we work together we realize greater happiness, productivity, and peace. If we can find the others who understand this fundamental truth and reassert our humanity—together—we can make the world a better place to be human.
Digital technology is destroying social bonds with wide-ranging and dire consequences, according to this scattershot jeremiad. Rushkoff (Program or Be Programmed), a professor of media theory and host of NPR's Team Human podcast, argues that the internet and social media are enacting a "social annihilation" that leaves individuals isolated, alienated, addicted to screens, vulnerable to consumerist propaganda, and imbued with a computer-flavored worldview that makes them "experience people as dehumanized replications of memes" and "treat one another as machines." These notions, along with anticapitalist posturing, frame a disjointed rehash of leftish sociocultural concerns, from the looming robot takeover to the inauthenticity of digital sound compared to vinyl. Rushkoff's theorizing is more free-associative metaphor than serious analysis he contends that "politicians of the digital media environment pull out of global trade blocs and demand the construction of walls" because of the one-versus-zero character of binary computer code and yields claims about the real world that are often ill-informed or just plain absurd ("We will need a major, civilization-changing innovation to occur on a monthly or even weekly basis in order to support the rate of growth demanded by the underlying operating system"). People seeking a more connected, sustainable future should look for a better game plan than Rushkoff's screed.
Extremely thought provoking!