Opening Insights: Planned Obsolescence
When you are 2 years old, your mother knows more about you than you know yourself. As you get older, you begin to understand things about your mind that even she doesn’t know. But then, says Yuval Noah Harari, another competitor joins the race: "You have this corporation or government running after you, and they are way past your mother, and they are at your back." Amazon will soon know when you need lightbulbs right before they burn out. YouTube knows how to keep you staring at the screen long past when it’s in your interest to stop. An advertiser in the future might know your sexual preferences before they are clear to you. (And they’ll certainly know them before you’ve told your mother.)
Recently, I spoke with Harari, the author of three best-selling books, and Tristan Harris, who runs the Center for Humane Technology and who has played a substantial role in making “time well spent” perhaps the most-debated phrase in Silicon Valley in 2018. They are two of the smartest people in the world of tech, and each spoke eloquently about self-knowledge and how humans can make themselves harder to hack. As Harari said, “We are now facing not just a technological crisis but a philosophical crisis.”1
Harley sales in the U.S. peaked at over 260,000 motorcycles in 2006, but have dipped to 147,972 last year, a number that is the lowest since 2010 and, before that, the lowest since 1993. (Retail sales fell 13 percent in the U.S. in the third quarter of 2018 compared to 2017, Harley said late last month.)
Harley’s longtime bread and butter has been Baby Boomers, those who grew up enamored with the outlaw image to the point that they were willing to spend $20,000 or more on the bikes and leather to live out that image. But the Boomers are getting older, increasingly physically unable to ride or dying out entirely. And Harley’s response—an electric bike called the LiveWire set to debut next year—isn’t so much of a Hail Mary as it is a capitulation. It also won’t be nearly enough.
“I think they have to completely reinvent the brand, and I don’t know if they can do it,” Erik Gordon, an assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, said. “The jokes are true. When I go down the freeway, I always look to see if this cliche about Harley riders is true. And the crazy thing is that it is true. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone under 55.
“My generation viewed Harleys as American fast, loud, muscle. We liked that stuff,” Gordon said. “[My students] view it as the tired old folks who screwed up America.”1
Possibilities for Consideration: A Co-Lab™ Approach
The Co-Lab™ enables
the freedom to have open-thought.
The Co-Lab™ architecture provides
an environment and structure to
DR. RICHARD JORGENSEN
- What if Sears could have been saved?
- What if heritage was something to be respected and honored instead of torn down?
- What if the wisdom of yesterday could be integrated and transferred to today's generation?
- What if you could be a part of a solution to unite and support people in developing collective and individual sentience?