Essays on Adapting to a Hybrid Life

I live a hybrid life, my attention alternating between physical reality and the virtual world. My brain integrates both experiences, but an observer only understands the physical half. In my kids’ and wife’s eyes, I’m switched on or off, accessible or buried in my tech.

I have no plans to quit the internet. In fact, I’ll probably use it more and more as the virtual world grows and improves every day. Meanwhile opportunities available in the physical world change slowly or not at all. **This set of essays ponders how IT is transforming our lives, what it’s displacing, and how to live healthfully through it. **

Since the arrival of the printing press, society has continually been adjusting to the impacts of more information. Jane Austen’s characters fretted about the corrupting influence of fiction novels in 1800. When TV arrived, it was called the “boob tube” since it turned us into idiots. (Even today, notice that only lazy characters on TV watch TV.) For the past twenty years, we’ve been consumed by the internet. Now Mark Zuckerberg is bearing down with his metaverse, and AI is writing our kids’ school essays.

The new innovations are disorienting, but the older ones feel quaint. Over time, I’m confident we will learn to live healthily with new technologies. But in the short run – our lifetime – the barrage of information has our personal and professional lives off-kilter.

Wisdom suggests that we think hard about how to use these technologies.


Written on February 20, 2023