Intro to Medium Energy | Podcast... Launched
Finally, we have lift off. Took a bit longer than expected, but the Medium Energy podcast is officially out the door.
One huge favor of each of you…
If you could please take one minute to visit the podcast, hit subscribe or follow, and give it some life in the form of stars + a review… I’d be BEYOND grateful.
(it’s noisy out there, need that upfront boost!)
I’ll also be playing with the audio/video features on Substack and video on Instagram, YouTube, and YouTube Shorts.
The initial episodes are recordings of my most popular essays, as many of you requested audio versions.
It provides a more concise definition of the term and an overview of the podcast content to come. If you prefer reading, I’ve also provided the transcript below.
This idea (mantra, philosophy, what have you) is still a work in progress, but that’s the purpose of this podcast and newsletter: to think out loud and go on a journey with all of you to further refine.
Lastly, my first interview will be released this Wednesday, so keep your eyed peeled! It’s a conversation with renowned ‘metaverse + virtual reality’ OG, Tony Parisi.
Tony is one the earliest pioneers in all thing immersive tech and he has the stories, wisdom, and scar tissue to prove it. We have a fun convo about the future of music & content creation (with Web3 & NFTs), the trials & tribulations of innovation, and the end game for the metaverse.
Alright, well, let’s see how this goes… I’m excited to take this thing to the next level and I appreciate you for joining me on the ride. See you on the other side!
An Intro to Medium Energy
What exactly is Medium Energy?
Good question, glad you asked. It’s been an ever evolving thing for the last few years, and will likely continue to be so…
Let’s start with the current definition. We’ll then go to the beginning and explore how we got here.
Simply stated, Medium Energy is a mantra for not just survival, but for flourishing during a time of rapid & dramatic change due to technologies like AI, spatial computing, blockchain, quantum computing, robotics, etc.
The formal definition is this: Medium Energy is a state of harmony between exponential technology and humanity that preserves core elements of the human experience while ensuring human flourishing.
I know, that all sounds a bit hand wavy. So let's break it down and talk about how we got here.
Initially, Medium Energy was the name of my go-to music playlist for getting into a flow state while writing, studying, or reading.
All the songs struck this perfect balance between melodies and beats that weren't too slow and mellow, or too… low energy. But also not too frenetic and intense, or too… high energy. These songs combined a bit of both. They were in that Goldilox zone of just enough energy to keep you focused and alert, while also relaxed and chilled out.
They had a perfect and healthy tension, between two opposing things; two polar opposite forces.
So I started to refer to this notion of healthy tension as Medium Energy, and over time, I started applying it both our relationship with technology and our relationship with ourselves.
This idea, albeit new and half baked, feels particularly important at this very unique point in time… A time in which we’re soon to experience dramatic change due to exponential technology. Particularly from the trifecta that is AI, Spatial Computing, and blockchain, all of which are rapidly converging into a new tech stack that is going to dramatically transform the internet (aka the fabric and back bone of the modern world).
Personally, I think it’s a wildly exciting time to be alive and to get to witness this transformation.
We have AI finally arriving and taking center stage, turning our machines into intelligent beings that are basically like an alien species living amongst us.
We have Spatial Computing, or augmented and virtual reality, finally on the cusp of legitimacy thanks to the Apple Vision Pro and a healthy competitive tension with Meta and Microsoft. This tech is finally worth using and now the lines between our physical and digital world are rapidly blurring.
Lastly, we have the third leg of the stool: blockchain.
While crypto and NFTs have had a bumpy start, the core primitives (and what they enable) are here to stay, poised to transform the nature of money, the nature of data, and the nature of value; how its moved, stored, trusted, and secured.
Now, many people still roll their eyes at all things blockchain/crypto, and I get it. The last hype cycle was full of fraudsters and all kinds of bull shit that didn’t help the cause.
But the cause is still intact and very much finding its footing…
If you believe we’re moving towards a future in which the digital world becomes increasingly important… as much if not more so, than the physical… than this is a world in which traits like scarcity, ownership, provenance, & control, these traits are going to matter.
Anyway, I digress.. these are all topics we’ll explore much further in future interviews & essays
The point is (and the thesis of this podcast) is that this trifecta (AI + Spatial + Blockchain) is converging into a tech stack that won’t just transform the internet, its going to transform the world. And its going to do so in fundamental ways that impact not just society, the economy, and day to day life… It's going to change what it means to be human.
What it means to be productive & to work.
What it means to learn & to grow.
What it means to have fun, to play, and to experience joy.
And most importantly, what it means to be in relation with others and to be in relation (perhaps most importantly) with our selves; impacting our own sense of self, our sense of purpose, and our own sense of meaning.
When I go on these kind of rants, people tend to get overwhelmed. More often than not, they get scared. They’re skeptical about this future.
Which makes sense. We’ve all been conditioned by the Hollywood bred, dystopian visions of this future. Fear sells and shows like Black Mirror are a hit for a reason. They spark controversy & drama, and if there’s one thing humans can’t seem to get enough of… its drama.
That said, these stories do serve a purpose. They recognize the downsides of tech and they act as a warning shot.
So, with that back drop, getting back to the definition of Medium Energy…
Medium Energy is a mindset to combat that fear with more optimism and hope about technology, while also keeping its downsides in scope and in check.
Think of it as an anti-Black Mirror mantra.
Or perhaps better said, think of it as a philosophy, rooted in techno-optimism but balanced by pragmatism about technologies inherent negative side effects. The result of which is the discovery of the right healthy tension, or medium energy, between the two.
Now that we’re calibrated, I restate the formal definition: Medium Energy is a state of harmony between exponential technology and humanity that preserves core elements of the human experience while ensuring human flourishing.
Okay Evan, that all sounds nice, but how the heck do we actually accomplish that harmonic state?
Another good question. I’m not sure I have a complete answer, yet… But that’s part of the purpose of this podcast and newsletter; to think out loud and go on this journey with all of you to find that right path towards Medium Energy.
Towards that end… I’ve been thinking about the right framework to guide us along this journey. It aligns with the original idea of walking the line of paradox, i.e. balancing two ideas that are in opposition and contradictory, yet at the same time, both true.
We’ll be exploring these paradoxes within the context of three pillars…
(1) Technology: The first pillar being just pure technology
To date, we’ve been relatively good at understanding the inherent paradox of technology, and balancing its contradictions. Such as the trite examples of using a hammer as a tool or a weapon, or fire to cook food or burn a village.
For most of humanity, we’ve been able to experiment and stumble our way into a world in which the good in tech usually outweighs the bad. We didn’t collectively restrict or fear hammers and fire. It’s been relatively easy to properly weigh the pros & cons of these more fundamental & basic technologies.
But with exponential tech, its just not as easy to grasp, and to see all the upside. It’s much easier to see the downsides and to default to fear. So we need ways to counter that fear.
If we don't, the main short term risk we face is succumbing to this notion of the Precautionary Principle: the idea that we need to take all kinds of “precautions” to protect ourselves from ourselves.
It’s the idea that its ‘better to be safe than sorry’. It’s anti-risk.
The most prominent example is Nuclear tech. Government & regulation stamped it out and its now obvious, from the perspective of nuclear energy, this paranoia set humanity back 30, 40, maybe 50 years. It also created all kinds of negative side effects; from geopolitical unrest due to oil, climate issues, a system overly reliant on fossil fuel, the list goes on.
And here we are today, at risk of doing this again with things like AI, crypto, autonomous vehicles.
So how do we address that problem and defeat the Precautionary Principle?
One answer is better forms of education & story telling that can help people keep up. And that’s exactly what we’re hear to do.
Okay, so that’s the technology pillar. Next up is the… ‘Being Human’ pillar.
(2) Being Human: this pillar is all about finding ways to really preserve the human experience in a world dominated by technology.
Once again, I think the answer lies in finding healthy tension. This time, between opposing forces that make up the human condition.
For example, striking the necessary balance between the aesthetic experiences we all crave in life (e.g. the beauty and awe within art, music, and story telling), and then balancing it with all things we need to feel productive & survive, the acts of ‘fetching water and chopping wood’. Things like our work, our money, chores, so on and so forth.
At a higher level of abstraction, one of the key themes here is going to be how to oscillate between complete surrender & discipline. Because I believe doing so is the only way to live the life that our truest selves want. And this… I think this is one of life’s greatest tragedies: the harsh reality that so few people live the life they truly want.
So in short, this content pillar aims to solve that problem. We’ll be covering ideas, philosophies, and tactics that make us better humans, more performant, more mindful, and more creative.
In doing so, we’re going to explore all the ways we can surrender and unplug from tech, from society, from our jobs, while also having the discipline, armed with better habits and skills, to jump back in to the digital fray such that we can flourish and create the lives we want.
Okay, the final pillar…
(3) Tech + Being Human: Here we’re going to explore all the wonderful things that happen when we properly blend Pillar 1 and Pillar 2.
For example, using immersive technology to provide those much needed aesthetic experiences that instill awe & wonder.
Or taking it further, using additional tech during those peak experiences to better understand the power of flow states. For example, using Brain Computer Interfaces and bio-metrics, combined with virtual reality, to give us a better telescope into the mind and the power of alternate states of consciousness. And perhaps one day, even the nature of consciousness itself.
There you have it. A long winded answer, to the question “What is Medium Energy?”, but you now have a glimpse into the type of content we’re going to provide (through both the newsletter and podcast).
You also have a sense of the mission we’re on, which is ultimately to help people better weigh the pros & cons of these new tools, and to live a life that takes full advantage of them, all while preserving our humanity and the wonders of the real world we so adore.
If that intrigues you… please join me on this journey by subscribing to both this podcast and to the newsletter below.
Thanks for tuning in… and we’ll see you next week for our first interview & episode…