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Douglas Rushkoff-- Present Shock and Presentism: Interview Transcript

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Rob Kall: We've got two or three minutes left. You're last chapter is Apocalypto, and you talk about Preppers and Zombies. Preppers are fascinating. I've been telling my audience recently you've got to watch at least one show - there are TV channels on it now. What's your explanation of the psychology behind Preppers?

Douglas Rushkoff: It's sort of the same thing with this aching for conclusion. Preppers would rather that the world end than that it keep on going! You know, (laughs) it's so much simpler, it's just - a zombie apocalypse is easier to imagine than next year, right? Who knows what's going to happen in the next election. Displayed over Facebook feeds, its gonna - God knows what it's gonna do.

Where the Prepper reality, everything is in it's place, you're in a nice little RV, you know? You can just sit on that hilltop, and have a shotgun, and shoot zombies, who are relatively slow moving. You don't have to answer the cellphone. You don't have to make money. It's just a conclusion. At least all the frenzy goes away, and you get the simplicity that so many people are longing for. And what I'm arguing is we can get that without the zombie apocalypse, we can get that without destroying the world. We can actually /

Rob Kall: (interjecting) Without the singularity.

Douglas Rushkoff: Yeah.

Rob Kall: So I'm going to wrap up with one last question. A few weeks ago I interviewed a Russian dot-com multimillionaire who was investing a fortune in bringing together leading scientists from around the world including Ray Kurweil and Robert Thurman (who's not a scientist, he's a Buddhist monk). But his goal is to develop by the year 2045 a collection of technologies that will enable people to download their being, their consciousness, into a substrate that can be repaired easily and last forever. And my question is, by 2045, will what it is to be human, what it is to be that being of ourselves be very different from who we are now? And will the technology have an effect on what ends up getting downloaded there, if they can do it? (Which they really think they can.)

Douglas Rushkoff: They can't do it, they're crazy.

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