January 27, 2013

The Edge, "great thinkers" and Peter Principle

Online magazine The Edge has, for several years, had an annual "big question." This year, that question is: "What should we be worried about?"

The answer, I think is a high-level and simple one that encompasses a multitude of lower issues.

"We should be worried about the hubris of our species."

Among the list of responses, it instead seems the inanity of our species is a worry to several of the respondents.

A number of people talk about things like "internet drivel," "online fascism," and more, all focused on how today's "always on" world increases this inanity factor.

Nicholas Carr and Evgeny Morozov, as I expected, have some very good Internet-related insights, not necessarily limited to inanity.

And, as a few respondents note, increases opportunities for the Peter Principle to take effect.

That said, the Peter Principle also sometimes pops up among Edge question respondents.

The first, Geoffery Miller, fears Chinese eugenics. Sounds like an overblown worry to me, though the idea of such eugenics does underscore my fear of human hubris.

Dan Sperber says "misplaced worries." Sounds like a trivial answer.

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