Everything You Know May Be Wrong

Last year, I wrote an article called “The real reason this elephant chart is terrifying.”
In it, I looked at the work of Christoph Lakner and Branko  Milanovic, who charted change in real income, for every percentile of global population, across a 20-year period from 1988 to 2008. While lots of folks had their incomes go up over the period, there’s a big dip in the chart between the 75th and 90th percentiles. Those folks -- poor people in rich countries -- are seeing their incomes stagnate or decline.

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Kaila Colbin
For The News Media, It May Already Be Too Late

You might not agree, but I believe most people want to know the truth. 

Pro-Trump. Anti-Trump. Left wing. Right wing. Republican. Democrat. American. Russian. I don’t think anyone says to themselves, “What I really want is a news outlet that actively lies to me.”

We are not divided in wanting to know the truth. We are divided in whom we trust to tell it to us.

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Kaila Colbin
On Both Sides, The Media Is Peddling A False Dilemma About Trump

An op-ed headline in The Washington Post this week intrigued me: “Our town’s newspaper was mocked for endorsing Trump. Here’s what we think now.”

The column was from Gary Abernathy, publisher and editor of the Hillsboro, Ohio Times-Gazette. It was accompanied by a photo of an idyllic rural scene: a field of soybeans, a combine harvester, a setting sun.

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Kaila Colbin
Why Free Is Bad For You

In 2013, Lawrence Lessig gave a TED talk called “We, The People, And The Republic We Must Reclaim.”

In it, he made an impassioned and articulate plea for campaign finance reform. He described the tiny fraction of Americans who control the majority of campaign spending -- the one percent of the one percent who give $10,000 or more to federal candidates, the 132 individuals who gave 60% (!) of the Super PAC money spent in the 2012 election. “[T]his dependence upon the funders,” he said, “produces a subtle, understated, camouflaged bending to keep the funders happy.”

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Kaila Colbin
Trump: News Media's Worthy Competitor

They say competition makes you stronger. When you’re on your own, there’s a tendency to slack off. When you compete, you have to be better than your opponent, who has to be better than you, and the two of you push each other further and further until ultimately you are delivering the absolute best performance you are capable of.
This is not to say competition always produces better outcomes. In the quest to win, people will often go too far, in sports as well as business. But in general, in a competitive environment, all participants will perform at a higher level than they otherwise would.

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Kaila Colbin
Humanity, Not Technology: The Idea Worth Spreading

The red circle. The big letters. The earnestness. Once a year, the good and the great converge on Vancouver, Canada for the TED conference: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Nearly 2,000 people gathered for a week to consider our past, present and future.
There was something interesting about the talks this week. While there were a few technological marvels -- swarms of tiny, self-organizing robots, for example, or a personal cargo-carrying robot that follows you around with your shopping -- many of the talks dealt not with technology, but humanity.

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Kaila Colbin
Can Technology Make The World Great Again?

We’ve all heard the promises: Technology is going to give us a better world. It will allow us to feed the masses, democratize education, enjoy unfettered free speech. Healthcare, energy and transport will all be revolutionized and demonetized. We’re heading for a brave new world.
And -- despite what you may see on the news -- there’s lots of evidence that life is getting better for humanity as a whole. Last June, Peter Diamandis compiled 10 charts demonstrating this progress: dramatic decreases in absolute poverty, child labor, percent of income spent on food, the under-five mortality rate, the teen birth rate, the homicide rate… even a random one about guinea worm infections.

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Kaila Colbin
Ethics Are For Everyone

I admit to an overwhelming amount of schadenfreude at the challenges recently faced by Uber.

 

After all, its behavior has been egregious for ages. The company lied about how much drivers will make. It lied about their safety fees. It investigated criticsand threatened a female journalist who dared to speak negatively about it. In New Zealand, where I live, Uber has encouraged drivers to break the law, without guaranteeing it would pay any fines or provide legal cover.

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Kaila Colbin
But How Can I Make Money From It?

Another day, another presentation on exponential technologies. This one, to a group of high-growth business leaders. We go through the usual: The Law of Accelerating Returns. Doubling phenomenon applying to any technology that becomes information-enabled. Technological unemployment. Convergence. Opportunity. Terror.

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Kaila Colbin
This Article Is NOT About Trump

This article is not about Trump, but we’re going to have to go through him to get to the point.
Last October, Wired’s David Wong wrote a piece called "How Half Of America Lost Its F**cking Mind." If you’re not a Trump supporter, it’s the single best thing I’ve found to help you understand the other side.

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Kaila Colbin