‘…I once made a snap decision to move to London, at a friend’s invitation one Sunday afternoon. The next day I handed in my notice at work and to my landlord, and the next month I was living in the capital. One of the best decisions I ever made.There’s nothing wrong with a quick decision, but decisions made in haste – i.e. rushed, and without considering your emotions as well as the logical pros and cons – can be dangerous. This is why the Vikings were reputed to make every important decision twice – once when sober, once when drunk…’
So how can you decide when it’s time to decide?
Do You Have to Be Rational to Run Your Own Life?
‘…Over the past couple of years, though, I’ve noticed loose talk about human mental incapacity being used to justify assaults on personal autonomy. If we can’t think straight, after all, it follows that we need “help.” And much of this “help” consists of taking choices away from human beings and giving them to organizations, machines or software.
‘Some examples: Once a human being called a boss would decide who would work which shifts at the local coffee shop. Today, Starbucks and many other retail chains are using algorithms to schedule workers, which is great for the bottom line (why pay more people than you need to if you can predict that traffic will be light this Thursday?). Medium, the hot new writing site, is paying some writers and editors according to the amount of time readers spend on their material. This makes for better metrics on the precise relationship between the content and the response. Or consider this technology, now being used in high school gyms in Dubuque, Iowa: It monitors students’ heart rates directly, via strapped-on monitors on each kid, to make sure they are exercising enough in class. Then there is this gizmo, described by my fellow-BigThink blogger Teodora Zareva, which delivers fines, electric shocks and social-media humiliations if you do not comply with your own goals. No doubt this is much more effective than just telling yourself you should get to the gym more often…’
Tiny neuronal chips helped form long term memories
‘Move over coffee, humanity may soon have a new favorite pick-me-up. Scientists are developing brain-tinkering technologies that can not only make us more alert but fundamentally alter how we think, feel and behave. In the next few years new devices could accelerate thinking skills, improve all manner of abilities and possibly even counteract negative behaviors…’
‘…At UCLA, researchers have embedded tiny neuronal chips in the brain that have helped form long term memories. This represents another potential boost in mental capabilities and possibly opens more doors toward finding treatments for degenerative brain ailments like Alzheimer’s. In the mean time, check out this Big Think interview which offers suggestions on how you and your loved ones can reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer’s…’