Abundance of Links — Democratized Brain Enhancement, Labor Polarization, Decline of Conspicuous Consumption

1. Will Brain Stimulation Technology Become Widely Adopted as a Learning Aid?

Dr. Roi Cohen Kadosh, who has carried out brain stimulation studies at the Department of Experimental Psychology, very definitely has a vision for how TDCS could be used in the future: “I can see a time when people plug a simple device into an iPad so that their brain is stimulated when they are doing their homework, learning French or taking up the piano,” he says.

“This technology overcomes some standard objections to enhancement: It is not a set of cheat notes,” says Julian. “You require effort and hard work to learn. It is just that you get more out of your effort. And because it is cheap, low tech, easily affordable, it could be widely available.”

 2. What If Middle-Class Jobs Disappear?

There are two challenges. One is the sheer speed of adjustment. In a hyper-Schumpeterian economy, the main work consists of destroying someone else’s job…

The second challenge is the nature of the emerging skills mismatch. People who are self-directed and cognitively capable can keep adding to their advantages. People who lack those traits cannot simply be exhorted into obtaining them.

3. The Twilight of the Leisure Class

An end to conspicuous consumption means an end to a consumption arms race where demand can never be sated. There really is only so much you can eat, wear and drive, or click and stream, so if we take the “conspicuous” out of the equation we have a society going down a much different economic path…

The wealthiest of the one-tenth of the one percent are holding the same iPhone and using the same applications as my babysitter. As I write this I am sitting in the walkout basement of my son’s house, using a computer that is identical to that of one of my former billionaire bosses.

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