Ask an Old Person


[this is an excerpt from an earlier article]
Technology is not life. Phones and computers might have a high profile in our life right now but the world changes a lot less than phones might make you think. You are sitting in a chair. Chairs are a technology that is thousands of years old. You are wearing shoes. Shoes are thousands of years old. You are eating a sandwich consisting of animal and vegetable products that your ancestors discovered at the dawn of humanity. This weekend you will meet with friends, drink beer, and tell stories. All ancient traditions. In short, 99% of your life is ancient.

NN Taleb talks about the 'Lindy' effect. The lindy effect says that the older the thing is, the longer you can predict it will last. For example, shoes have been around for 4000 years. We can expect that in 4000 years, shoes will still be around. iPhones have been around only 13 years. Chances are they will not be around in 50 years. Chairs have been around for thousands of years. Chances are they will be around in a 1000 years. Laptop computers have been around for 30 years, chances are they will not be around in 100 years.

Old people, in other words, have experience with all the things that will be around when you are an old person. The stuff you laugh at them for not knowing, you will not need to know when you are their age. Instead, something new will come along that you don't know yet and you will probably ask your grandkid to help you with it.

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