Silent Spring 2.0?

In 1962 Rachel Carson told a tale (the Silent Spring) where industries dumped so much waste into our ecosystem that the springs weaving through our heartlands fell silent. No crickets chirped, no birds sang, and the harvest never came. She sounded the alarm that humanity had unbalanced nature & we were on a road to ruin. Her work was noticed by the president of the United States and spurred the development of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

What if we are standing at the crossroads of a new silent spring driven by dark interaction design patterns, surveillance capitalism, and social technologies that create industrial scale cognitive waste? Is strip mining our curiosity, creativity & executive function killing off our capacity to cope with today’s complex challenges? It is time to wake up and realize that human cognitive diversity matters. How might we embrace the emerging promise of dynamic cognitive noise cancellation and cognitive awareness to unlock human potential? Why do we watch silently while the lifeblood that springs from our minds falls silent? When do we take control back over our cognition, control we’ve lost without our knowledge or consent? Do we need to protect cognition as a human right? do we need an EPA or an FDA to protect the precious natural resources that are in in the fruitful landscape of the mind?

In this short discussion Neta Tamir and Mickey McManus explore Neta’s PhD research into shifting from time management (think clocks, calendars, scheduling apps) to cognitive management and ultimately cognitive regeneration and the creation of new cognitive abilities over your lifetime.

Related work can be found in this Forbes article written by Marco Annunziata and Mickey McManus, and in this article by Jay Venkat and Mickey McManus and this podcast on strip-mining cognition both done for BCG, as well as this excerpt from Mickey’s forthcoming book on malleable mindsets.

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