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We’re Optimizing Ourselves to Death

https://medium.com/s/buy-yourself/were-optimizing-ourselves-to-death-d41a3e7cc25a

medium.com

We’re Optimizing Ourselves to Death
Tech saves us time, which is supposed to be a good thing. But what happens when we use that time to work harder than before? Welcome to the Millennial Dilemma, where work begets work — and burnout.

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The Prisoner's Dilemma

The Prisoner's Dilemma

It is a famous thought experiment in Game Theory. Two prisoners in separate interrogation rooms have two options: to confess or to lie, and this can lead to three outcomes:

  1. If both confess, they both serve eight years in prison.
  2. If both lie, then they both serve one year in prison.
  3. If one of them confesses and one of them lies, then the liar gets maximum prison and the confessor goes free.

This thought experiment tells us that when we make decisions, the ones which are taken by others also factors in.

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The Millennials Dilemma

The Prisoners Dilemma can be reimagined as a life-optimization matrix. When two people have some free time due to a time-saving technique, they can spend it either on leisure or further work. This can have three outcomes:

  1. Both individuals choose to work harder in their free time, remaining in a constant state of acceleration
  2. Both individuals choose to relax and chill out.
  3. One of them works harder and gets ahead, while the other relaxes and is left behind in the acceleration.

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The Burnout Generation

Millennials are fast becoming the burnout generation, due to them treating free time as not leisure time, when they can relax and unwind, but as bonus time for them to work harder and up their game.

The hyperproductive, work-obsessed world is hell-bent to automate every to-do list item so that you can work more and create more to-do lists.

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Wage Stagnation

Tech companies optimize our lives by providing us services that save our time and money.

They earn absurdly well in the process, making the wages stagnant for the common man, increasing the disparity and inequality to earth-shattering levels.

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The Domino Effect

Our past luxuries just end up being necessities in a blink of an eye, once people get used to them.

This also creates new obligations and the domino effect of a further set of expenses and tasks, leading to new kinds of services and optimizations.

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Everyone’s Depressed

New kinds of exotic mental illnesses, which almost everyone has, make burnout and the falling health conditions normal to millennials.

The never-ending rat race is a rigged game, with the Millennials Dilemma being played out indefinitely, leading to co-operation. We keep on playing the rigged game, optimizing and working even more.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Preserving optionality

Preserving optionality means avoiding limiting choices or dependencies. It means staying open to opportunities and always having a backup plan.
The more options we have, the bet...

Having options

We are faced with options all the time, but life-altering ones often come up during times of great change. These options are the ones we have the hardest time capitalizing on.
If we’ve specialized too much, change is a threat, not an opportunity. Thus, if we aren’t certain where the opportunities are going to be (and we never are), then we need to make choices to keep our options open.

Navigating difficult times

When times are hard is when many investors make their fortunes and when entrepreneurs innovate. They have to see the opportunity in chaos.

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Understanding morality

Psychologists do not understand human moral behavior, because it seldom makes any logical sense.

Using moral philosophy and psychology, biology, economics, mathematics, and computer science, ...

Our default mode

Through a series of experiments, it was discovered that despite the temptation to be selfish, most people show selflessness.

This is particularly true when subjects were forced to make their decision under time pressure; people are prone to cooperation when they rely more on intuition.

Creating quantitative models

Most of the psychological theories are verbal, but words can be imprecise. If "cooperation is intuitive", it needs to state when. And what does "intuitive" mean?

In order to solve this, computer simulations of society were developed.

Forming good habits

Habits are little chunks of auto-pilot behavior that get burned permanently into your mind. Once you develop a habit, you can never really delete it.

Habits start with a trigger, which se...

Find the trigger point of your habit

Describe your own behavior in detail, and search for clues you might have missed before. Find your trigger.
If you have a habit of making coffee, it might be triggered by entering the kitchen. Some people eat in response to boredom or buy stuff in response to their desires.

Trick yourself

Take an existing cue you have, but trick yourself into triggering a different behavior.
If you want to quit coffee, you could give away the coffee machine and put a box of tea or a glass of water on the countertop.