Douglas Rushkoff – Team Human

Douglas Rushkoff is a writer, documentarian, and lecturer whose work focuses on human autonomy in a digital age.

He is the author of fifteen bestselling books on media, technology, and society and in 2013 was named ONE of the world’s TEN, most influential intellectuals by MIT.

Today he serves as Professor of Media Theory and Digital Economics at CUNY in Queens where he recently founded the Laboratory for Digital Humanism and currently hosts the TeamHuman podcast.


00:00 Trailer.
02:12 Brian’s thoughts on the episode.
05:12 Brian’s introduction.
06:06 The pre-internet psychedelic days of late ‘80s, early ‘90s London.
11:30 Social media causing public’s panic and confusion.
13:02 How social media companies use your data to change your behaviour and make you addictive.
20:52 What Douglas thought the internet would be and when he realised it would not and why.
27:48 Facebook and similar companies’ need to grow and make a profit causing dehumanisation.
34:00 Human attention is the only thing that is scarce, but it’s the only thing we have, it’s our time.
35:00 Douglas’ argument with how Uber operates.
38:31 Capital is king, with no thought given to land and labour issues.
47:06 Google is a holding company and no longer innovative.
50:44 Humans will be and should be replaced by computers: the motivator for starting Team Human.
54:39 Douglas’ prediction for the future.
59:10 Perhaps AI is just a ruse.
1:00:24 The concept of present shock and how we all experience it.
1:03:35 Steps we can all take to combat being in present shock.
1:07:42 Moon cycle effect on humans.
1:09:39 Know that every app you put onto your phone will demand your time and violate your privacy.
1:17:33 Douglas’ view on whether plants will ultimately help us in the war with artificial intelligence
1:25:39 The role of psychedelics in our humanism.
1:28:07 Artificial intelligence (AI) what it could be, but what we should be worried about.
1:36:36 Modern terrorism is a hack of our media system.
1:41:38 What Douglas sees in Donald Trump and his optimism for the next four years.
1:50:48 The art of storytelling.
1:58:09 Douglas looks into how London Real could develop in their mission.
2:02:04 Success secrets.
2:04:43 Choice of becoming rich doing a job you don’t like or being alive doing something beneficial.
2:09:39 Looking at The New York Times’ objectivity.
2:12:49 Who Douglas thinks of as successful,
2:13:58 Darkest moment of Douglas’ life.
2:16:26 Best day of his life.
2:17:53 His time in the theatre and a possible return.
2:21:41 What keeps Douglas awake at night.
2:23:17 What scares him.
2:24:06 What we would be surprised to learn about Douglas.
2:25:07 A phone call to the 20 year old Douglas.
2:27:08 Best advice ever received.
2:28:10 Advice to the 20 year old listening who wants to grow up with the insight of Douglas.
2:30:02 Brian’s summing up.

Douglas Rushkoff links:
Douglas Rushkoff website
Douglas Rushkoff on Twitter
Douglas Rushkoff on Facebook
Team Human
The Persuaders
Generation Like
Merchants of Cool
Douglas Rushkoff on Wikipedia

Douglas Rushkoff Books:
Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus
Program or Be Programmed
Present Shock
Aleister & Adolf
Life Inc.
Get Back in the Box
All books by Douglas Rushkoff

Topics discussed:
Queens College, Cuny
Camden Lock Market
Persuasive Technology by B J Fogg
Slot Machines: The big gamble
Awakening Earth: The Global Brain by Peter Russell
Gaia hypothesis
Wired (magazine)
Bretton Woods system
Sherry Turkle
Nicholas Carr
Deloitte’s Shift Index
IBM Watson
Colossus (film)
2001 A Space Odyssey (film)
Beavis and Butt-Head
The Simpsons
Breaking Bad
The New York Times
Oslo (play)
Oslo Accords
The Colbert Report
Waiting for Godot
Angels in America (Play)

People mentioned in this episode:
Rupert Sheldrake
Jill Purce
Fraser Clark
B J Fogg
Kevin Kelly
Adam Smith
Eric Schmidt
Ray Kurzweil
Elon Musk
Peter Thiel
Marshall McLuhan
Dennis McKenna
Terrence McKenna
Timothy Leary
Donald Trump
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Vladimir Putin
Robert McKee
Charlie Kaufman
J T Rogers
Nelson Mandela
Genesis P-Orridge
Wyclef Jean

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17 Comments on "Douglas Rushkoff – Team Human"

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Elias Anatolios

Wow, I just saw this now but this is one of the best London Real interviews I’ve ever seen. The energy is palpable, Rushkoff is literally shining, and the perspective is both grounding and inspiring. Great stuff!


agreed, integrity, intelligence, humility
a very powerful combo

Cham HR


Joshua Louw

I’m 22 now and I would just like to thank Brian Rose for always asking his guests: ‘what would you tell your twenty year old self?’ – London REAL has helped me tremendously over the past year.


21 and feeling that too!

Wonderful, beautiful.


Thank you so much for that interview ! It was a great time watching it 😀


How can we fight back against terrorism? and he jokes about turning his phone off, but that’s how we fight back…..turn our backs on the media and they can no longer spread the fear and propaganda that the system wants us to feel.

Antoine Dricot

WOW. Now that was an INTENSE episode ending. Probably my favorite episode so far (apart from Ido’s maybe 🙂 ).
Congratulations on all the amazing things you published recently. I am grateful to be among those who “got this message”.


Great interview… Brian, you are getting better and better by hosting such inspiring and life changing people. In my opinion you are even getting more and more humble. Til now, just watched a few interviews, but I already can see a change in your behavior during the talks 😉

Jez Brunatny

The best interview as always.

Peter Stein

what a fart sniffer. he has some valid points but no idea what the real issue is – central banking…


The internet was created by central institutions – I don’t know why so many tech utopians are shocked and disappointed by what the internet has turned into.


Awesome interview otherwise though.

I just have to say, I’m so glad I came across London Real and have been watching your episodes almost daily since I discovered you about 2 weeks ago.. I had read ” program or be programmed “years ago when I discovered Rushkoff. It’s so comforting to t Know that there are really smart people out there who have a grasp of what it means to be human and have some kind of vision of how we could possibly evolve in a direction that aligns with our biology and human essence rather than get caught up in the stream capitalism… Read more »

Great to hear from Rushkoff again. I used to read his writings a lot about a decade ago but then i somehow forgot about him.

Thoughtful and intelligent interview as always.

Jeffrey Neubauer

Wow! I enjoyed Throwing Stones and understanding your life and journey was enlightening! Much gratitude to both of you HUMAN BEINGS!