The Hype Cycle

Uppers and Downers in Our Bipolar Culture

Arnold Schelsky

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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Psychologie


The media and the politicians are always screaming at us about horrifying, end-of-the-world threats, and also about miraculous new technologies that will save us and transform our lives.  These are the two types of Hype—Fear Hype and Hope Hype.  They work together to befuddle our minds and keep us on edge.

Both forms of Hype, according to Jobst Landgrebe are overblown, exaggerated to the nth degree, and scientifically worthless. Climate change does not threaten us with extinction, machines can never conspire against their human creators—and on the other hand, “global governance” cannot solve any of our serious problems, while most of the miraculous expectations for quantum physics are scientific nonsense.

AI is a focus of both types of Hype, with provably false predictions that machines will be able to think and create, provably false predictions that machines will replace employees causing mass unemployment, and provably false predictions that machines can conceive purposes or intentions hostile to humans.

Fear Hype justifies the move toward a permanent state of emergency while Hope Hype titillates us with wild dreams which can never be realized.

The political result is a system Dr. Landgrebe calls “neo-feudalism.”  The psychological result is a rapid oscillation between extreme, unwarranted Fear and extreme, unwarranted expectations of salvation and bliss.

In the life of any animal, overactivity is short-lived and restricted to emergency situations. No living being can sustain overactivity for longer periods without self-harm.  Hype is a form of toxic overactivity of entire societies.  Today the West is in an accelerated Hype Cycle, hyping ourselves from one peak of excitement to the next.

Values conducive to the Hype Cycle have been developing in the West since the 1920s.  Dr. Landgrebe favors renewed emphasis on pre-1920s values.

Jobst Landgrebe lives in Germany and frequently visits the United States.  He is a medical doctor, scientist, and entrepreneur, who now runs his own AI company and never exaggerates the merits of his products.

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Hope, Hype, Political Science, Jobst Landgrebe, Social Science, Psychology