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Jay Ligda 00:00:11 Welcome to the TrueDemocracy.Global podcast. Today, I’m excited to have Dr. Rick Chromey, author of “GenTech: An American Story of Technology, Change, and Who We Really Are”. This is an insightful analysis of technology history since 1900 and how it relates to cultural shifts with each new generation. Today we hope to learn how technology relates to these cultural shifts and where it might lead us tomorrow … into the TrueDemocracy.Global mission and vision. I hope we’ll see the TrueDemocracy.Global podcast, where we are looking into different aspects and systems of democracy, systems of authority and community, as well as the technologies that support them. Our hope is that through understanding, applying shared knowledge, and evolving technology, we can find ways to build trust and encourage constructive collaboration, which may bring about greater freedom for humanity and a true democracy where the power stems truly from the people and everyone has a voice in collaboration with their fellow humans, men, and women of any background.
Jay Ligda 00:01:20 We live in an unprecedented time in history with technologies that have never before existed that may help bring about this vision. With me today, Dr. Rick Chromey. Rick uses historical insights and cultural inspiration to empower audiences to rethink and imagine how they lead, teach, pastor, parent, besides his book that we’re going to talk about today with over 30 years of experience training, Dr. Rick Chromey is a sought after speaker, both nationally and internationally. He has also penned over a dozen books on leadership, culture, history, classroom management, creative communication, and of course, including his most recent book, “GenTech: An American Story of Technology, Change and Who We Really Are”. Chromey enjoys collecting antique technology, pop culture, watching baseball, riding his motorcycle, traveling and writing. He lives with his wife, Linda and adorable dog and ornery cat in a small town outside of Boise, Idaho. Welcome Rick.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:02:38 Okay. Thanks, Jay. It’s good to be here. And with all your listeners out there in podcast land to this show, the TrueDemocracy.Global Project here. Yeah.
Jay Ligda 00:02:50 So, I’m going to go off on a tangent right away. Let’s do it. Boise, Idaho, who did you watch? Well, who’s your baseball team out there?
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:02:59 Well, we don’t have a, we don’t have a real baseball team here we had because of the Californians that have moved up into this area, there’s a lot of Dodger fans, a lot of, uh, Giants fans, but, uh, I lived for several years in St. Louis. And once you get the blood of the Cardinal nation in ya. You just don’t go anywhere else. So I’ve been a diehard Cardinal fan for a long, long time. No.
Jay Ligda 00:03:25 Okay. And it sounds like you get the giant Dodger rivalry up there too.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:03:30 Yeah. Yeah. They’re good people. Dodgers, they’ve had some pretty good teams the last two years, so you can’t fault them. They’ve done pretty well. Looks good this year though.
Jay Ligda 00:03:41 Yeah. Okay. Before we go too far off on that road, let’s reel it back in. All right. And talk about technology. I’m interested in the evolution of technology, mainly how it relates to our relationship to authorities and the trust of authorities. Is that something we could talk about?
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:04:00 Sure, sure. And, you know, feel free this, I look at this as a conversation so we can, we can just open it up and see where we go here. But, uh, really every technology has an immediate, when it, it starts to bubble, when it starts to tip, I call them tipping points in my book. There’s always a counterreaction to the technology that views it with distrust. We saw it with the telephone. I mean, that’s one of the earliest technologies I talked about in my book. There, there were people that really felt like this was demonic almost because a voice was coming through the air into your ear, and so it should have been resisted. Uh, it would feel the same way about, uh, even the automobile, you know, the people who rode horses and did the wagon thing felt like that was more of a pure transportation, a quieter transportation for sure than the motorized vehicle, but everything.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:05:00 And in particular, when we get into communication technologies like radio and television, eventually the internet, all of those have been met with opposition of that. Um, initially, and, you know, in time, basically we start to accept the new normal. Uh, I often have my audiences when I’m doing a workshop, I’ll have them fold their hands and look down and see which thumb is on top. And then I’ll say, now take your hands apart and put the opposite thumb on top. And how does that feel? And yeah, I can see a shaking your head already. People don’t like that, but this is what change feels like. This is what technological change feels like. And of course we don’t like it, but the longer you’ll hold your hands like this, the less, um, intrusive you become the less, uh, you know, opposition becomes you, you start to accept it. We’re, we’re seeing that right now. I think, as we come out of this COVID moment, you know, we’re, we’re starting to see the, the shift has, has been made rather suddenly, and there’s a lot of reactions of course, but as we come out of it, this new normal is going to, uh, uh, play fairly well. Um, and we’re gonna, we’re gonna figure it out.
Jay Ligda 00:06:12 Yeah. That’s definitely going to be a cultural shift coming out of COVID and the online platforms, uh, supporting us over, over this period. It’s going to be, um, it’s, it’s going to be a permanent shift, I think.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:06:28 Yeah. Well, and the way to look at technological change, as well as cultural change is it always has what I call micro movements. Uh, they’re, they’re small movements, you know, when we look back and as a historian, I look back and I see the macro movements, and that’s where we can see the big wholesale changes that have occurred. But if you start to look at it, with microvision, so to speak, you see these micromovements and with COVID, for example, think about how grocery shopping has changed. Uh, my wife and I, you know, before COVID, I was the one that got the groceries. I would literally go to my local grocery store, Walmart or whatever it was. And I would go through the aisle. I picked my own groceries. Now we have personal pickers that do that for us, and then they put it in boxes.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:07:19 And then I, they give me a ding on my cell phone and I can go pick it up. And I never go into the store. Uh, there was a period during COVID where I didn’t go into my grocery store or a Walmart, I think for six months, it was just, it wasn’t necessary. Everything was happening. So, um, I thought maybe when we came out of COVID, that we’d go back to the way it was. And that’s what I’m finding. We’re not, we’re, we’ve become very comfortable with that type of grocery delivery. Uh, restaurants had to change, uh, you’re you’re seeing in, in even the entertainment industry in particular, you know, I think we’re going to see less tours, uh, before COVID everybody did a tour. I mean, that’s how you did business as a musician, but what happened during COVID is we realized that we could actually go directly to our audience through video technology and, and now holographic technology that’s emerging. That’s going to totally revolutionize how we, uh, concert, you might say,
Jay Ligda 00:08:19 I don’t know much about holographic technology. Uh, you want to talk about that real quick? I want to get us back to some communication technology.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:08:28 Yeah, absolutely. Well, first of all, if you’ve been watching the Olympics and you caught the opening ceremonies of the, uh, of the Beijing Olympics, you saw holographic technology. We saw him last summer as well in the opening ceremonies there, but the holographic technology and in the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony, there were falling snowflakes and they looked so real. And that’s where holograms are gonna go. Uh, we’re talking right now through screens. You know, I’m looking at you through my laptop screen and, but those screens are going to go away. The physical screen, probably in the next 10 to 15 years is going to start to disappear and holographic screens will take their place. Uh, I was reading about a smartphone that they’re working on in a prototype where, uh, you know, normally you look at your smartphone and you see the face and you have the conversation, you know, through the smartphone, but there’s going to be, uh, a holographics, uh, prototype where it’s basically, it’s a 3d image of the person you’re talking to popping up. And, and you’re looking at them just like, I’m looking at you and it’s a 3d, uh, so you can turn it around, do the back of their head, everything, you know, it’s going to be, yeah, it’s very interesting. That’s what’s coming. And again, these are small micro movements, but when we start to look back, we’re going to go, whoa, it’s not the year 2000 anymore. It’s not even the year 2020 anymore.
Jay Ligda 00:09:57 No doubt that has changed in the past 20 years or so. It has just been outstanding. It’s hard to keep up with. Now you talk about the tipping point. Is there, is there an average time or a time span that this tipping point happens with the adoption of technology?
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:10:13 No, the tipping point can be a long time. I think what’s happening now. Our tipping points are getting much faster though, Jay. They are really getting much faster and that’s because our world technologically is spinning faster than ever. Uh, when you go back into history and again, as a historian, I love to look at tipping points in history. Uh, the Gutenberg press is a good example. Uh, it was, uh, created and invented in the mid 1300s, but it really did not see its tipping point until the Protestant Reformation. Uh, that was when the Gutenberg press really took off. You know, so the tipping point was probably late 1400s, early 1500s with the Protestant Reformation. So, I mean, we’re talking about a hundred, 150 years. Then you move the television. You know, it was, it had early inventions. I mean, depending whether you’re looking at mechanical or electronic television, they were going different directions.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:11:10 But eventually the electronic television became the kind of the direction, but it wasn’t until the 1939 World’s Fair that they really, that NBC at that point demonstrated, you know, uh, electronic television to the public. That was our first time when we put eyeballs on it. Well, that’s, that’s interesting because it wasn’t really until 1960, that most American homes now have had a television. So what does that, uh, 21 years, uh, we have, uh, it took the internet only about five years to find a tipping point. Wow, that’s the difference? It took social media about two years to find a tipping point. Uh, the smartphone did it in about two or three years time, the tipping point. So technology today is moving much faster and the tipping points are coming much closer together. Yeah. Right,
Jay Ligda 00:12:09 Right. But it’s, um, let’s go back to the television. How, what were the cultural shifts that happened with the television?
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:12:14 Well, the biggest, the biggest cultural shift is we moved out of a audio or what I would call an oral type of culture, where we, we listened, we heard. Everything came through through what we read, you know, the print culture, or it came through what we heard. The radio actually, and motion picture to a certain extent, help that, but the most, what, what was different about the television. You know, the motion picture you had to go some place. Television started the great decentralization actually started to great decentralization. Again, technology tends to evolve. Radio evolved into television. If you’re thinking about this clearly, uh, because prime, what we call prime time on television was already prime time on the radio. Um, the radio became the central. I mean, we’re watching the Waltons right now in our home. My mother-in-law loves the Waltons. And so we’re watching the Waltons and every night they gather around the radio, like we gather around a TV, that’s what they did in the 1930s.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:13:17 They got all their news from the radio. They got all their, uh, they got sports from the radio, got entertainment from the radio. They got the religion from the radio. It really was a centralizing place where they could come together. But what happened with television was it started the shift. I mean, the motion picture. That’s where newsreels. I mean, if you want to get the news, you went to a motion picture, you know, and I went and saw a motion picture cause they showed newsreels before the actual film television brought it right into your home. And that was a major shift, especially in the 1960s. Uh, when you look at civil rights, when you look at the Vietnam War, when you look at all those great movements that exploded in the 1960s, television was the window. I mean, we wouldn’t have known, we knew things were going on down in the south with Jim Crow and all that stuff we were aware of, of segregation, but it wasn’t until we saw Bull Connor and his police force literally, you know, hosing down and beating up black people in the streets of Birmingham. We saw it on television. Then we went, oh my goodness, something has to be done. We have to change.
Jay Ligda 00:14:31 The visual channel of input made a huge difference in how we reacted to it.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:14:38 Yeah. Uh, the difference, the thing is interesting though, is in the last 20 years, there’s been a great decentralization, uh, due to the smartphone. When you think about, uh, the George Floyd situation, in fact thinking about anything today, any type of news, the minute something happens, people got their smartphones recorded and before long it’s posted online. And we see, you know, we see information when we see news often, even as it’s happening today. Uh, and it’s done through the smartphone technology and we are all the producers. We’re the commentators, we’re the filmmakers. We’re the, we’re the news reporters, the podcasters or the podcasters. And what’s, you know what we’re doing today, you know, 20 years ago, you had to have to be in an elite group. You had to have special access, you know, but now we can do it, uh, freely. That is the democratization that, uh, the internet television was the earliest.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:15:40 Uh, also I think any type of mobile technology cell phone, uh, has done to our culture. So that’s the big cultural shift that I’ve seen. When I look back as a historian, I look at how technologies can shift us. And I look, 500 years ago, it was the Gutenberg press. It was the mechanical clock. It was the scopes, the microscope and the telescope that shifted us, moved us out of the Dark Ages into what was conventionally called the Dark Ages into what we call modernity or a modern culture now because of television, internet, mobile cell phone technology, we have shifted it into a postmodern culture and that all the rules are new. All the rules are different and you know, how long will it be? It’s interesting. We don’t know. But, uh, this historian, as I look back, I tend to see big chunks, big cultural shifts about every 500 years.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:16:37 And then from there we have generational shifts and that’s where I started taking the big shift and going, well technology. This has always been my thesis. If technology is what shifts cultural languages, so that we speak, we communicate, we do business, we are entertained, we socialize, you know, every, we, we learn all those things. If they shift in these big ways, every 500 years, you know, do they also not have smaller, microshifts happening from generation to generation. And when I funneled that through, uh, the last 120 years, I was shocked to see about every 10 years, a new technology popping. And so we’re not boomers, Jay, we’re the space and television generation. We’re not gen X, we’re the cable, television and video game generation; we’re not millennials, we’re the personal computer, cell phone and, and, uh, uh, next generation.
Jay Ligda 00:17:23 So, you’re naming the generations based on the technology?
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:17:39 Right, right. So when I look at, you know, people today refer to Gen Z, Gen Z is a lousy name. It’s one of the reasons I got upset and wrote a book. You know, most authors write a book because they are upset. And that’s why I wrote the book. I think Gen Z is one of the worst names Gen X was, right up there. But Gen Z is even worse because gen Z is just nothing more than naming the, using the alphabet to name a generation. It’s a marketing term at best. So when I look at those born in the year 2000, I see them as iTech, little i, big T because of the i technologies that frame them. Technologies like the iTunes or iPod or ipad or iPhone, or I watch social media. They, that’s why you can’t look at someone born, you know, the teenagers today, are going to be so much different than we were as teenagers now that we have similar developmental issues, we have similar temptations and stresses and issues, but in general, because technology has shifted and there’s a change. We have a different perspective and it’s these perspectives that become these generation gaps. And what it’s interesting, I think, and I’ll close on this thought. While the tipping points have shrunk, I think the generation gap is getting greater and greater. There’s a huge difference today between someone who’s 55 years old and someone who’s 15.
Jay Ligda 00:19:02 So I would, I would imagine so because if the tipping points are happening faster, there’s more resistance. I would imagine from the older generation who probably would be adopting things a little slower there’s, um, there’s a study. I can’t quite remember what it was about. It was an island with, uh, monkeys, monkeys on an island and they would eat these coconuts or some fruit, they would fall from the tree. And at one point the coconut fell or the fruit fell into the water and got a salty taste to it. So the monkey showed it to his friends. You know, this is a great way to add a nice taste to the food. And pretty soon all of the younger monkeys were doing it. The older monkeys never picked up on that. So there’s, uh, I think an innate nature to learn from our elders. Uh, but the elders don’t necessarily learn from the youth.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:20:24 And I think you just nailed it because when it comes down to, in reality, the uncomfortability of something, it’s about personal taste in this case, the taste of salt was the difference. Right. But a lot of times it’s just personal taste. I just prefer this. I prefer to communicate through Snapchat. I prefer to communicate through Tik Tok. You know, you want to stay on Facebook. Okay Boomer, go ahead. I’m going to, I’m going to these other platforms.
Jay Ligda 00:20:52 Yeah. And, and, and just to know what I’m generalizing, you know, this, this is not going to be a case and every, every point, every point in every case, I should say. So. So yeah. And now you bring up another interesting point about the different platforms and personal taste is sharing information or data amongst these platforms. So one of the downsides I see to the current digital age is data, just our personal data or the data that we generate is in the hands of these corporate conglomerates, these internet corporate giants who have done great things for us, by the way, they’ve evolved technologies, quite impressively that we are all benefiting from. But now that as the internet evolved, they thought, okay, this is a, this is a platform that’s going to provide more democracy and more freedom to humanity. And, but the, but now we have this concentration in these, the hands of these internet giants with data. And so I’m kind of envisioning a way that data can be shared amongst these platforms so that people can use the platforms that they choose, but still communicate with people using other platforms, somehow sharing the data. It’s kind of a vision that I have for moving forward.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:22:24 Yeah. Uh, well, again, this is, this is something that’s different and what you’re speaking to is, and I think that the shift, and again, this is a microshift. This smartphone introduced it and slowly with each generation of the smartphone, uh, we were introduced to other types of smart technology, smart speakers like Siri. And in fact, if you think about Siri, most don’t think about Siri, that’s an interesting name, but you know what, Siri backwards spells
Jay Ligda 00:22:59 Iris.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:23:00 But it’s eye on you. Siri always has its eye on you. And I don’t think we realize that. I mean, that was just one of those things. And I don’t think that was unintentional. I think that that was purposely named that for, for, you know, it was just, how can we give it a name that’s different than any other name? You know, Alexa, Alexa is very, uh, you know, obtuse, you know, it’s up to, so if you will, but when you get to Siri, uh, well, no idea what that means, but backwards Iris, oh, now it starts to come. And this is what artificial intelligence does. Uh, in my book, I talk about the robotics generation. That’s the last generation born since 2010, the robot generation. And they’re growing up in what I call HAIR technology. HAIR standing for holographic AI, artificial intelligence and “R” robotics.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:23:53 So that middle piece of artificial intelligence is what’s new. And for those of us who are older, this is also the creepiest part for us. I mean, we can handle a robot that vacuums our floor that doesn’t bother us at all, but we have a problem with, you know, uh, uh, a device, a smart speaker, actually knowing everything about our lives, possibly listening into our lives, being so connected with our life. Instead it becomes part of the family type of stuff. This is where artificial intelligence is going. It’s literally making, you know, think about when robots actually become smart robots and they’re very close right now, but they become not only smart, but they become truly humanoid. You know, Japan is on the forefront of the cutting edge of this type of technology, where they’re creating robots that are so close to being human, that they actually have one, uh, that I watched online.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:24:56 She’s a reporter, a journalist, and she will sit down. It’s, it’s, it’s a robot, a humanoid robot. And she, she looks, she looks non-human. I mean, when you look at her, uh, but she literally, as she communicates with her, with her guests, she’s learning their story. And she’s, she’s learned certain questions to ask, just like you have as a podcaster to get a conversation going. And then as the guest speaks and shares, she picks up on that and she learns and that’s what’s different. We used to learn our machines. We used to learn our calculators. We used to put the algorithms into our computers. That’s why they were called computers. We would do the computing. Now our machines are learning us. And that is a shift that our kids are very, it’s like a fish in water. They’re comfortable with it. For those of us who living on land right now to jump into that artificial intelligence waters is, um, potentially a drowning moment for us.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:25:45 And it might make us a little nervous.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:25:49 Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. Which I think is where your blockchain, you know, we were talking about blockchain before, uh, blockchain technology. It sounds to me, and I don’t know a lot about blockchain. You’re obviously the expert on that, Jay, but for me, what I’ve looked at it, it’s, uh, it’s much more secure, you know, when you look at it from the financial perspective, a Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, it’s much more secure, uh, and it’s, you can’t, you can’t manipulate it. You can’t, you can’t, you know, unlike a lot of data that gets out there, you can manipulate, which should concern you. You think about it. If you can have data manipulated on you, so you can have a spotless record, you can be a perfect citizen. Uh, but if the wrong people, the wrong nefarious people get a hold of your persona online and they can make you into some sort of a bad guy by changing your data. I mean, I don’t think most people even Google their names. Um, I think some. I actually had a friend who says he’s scared to Google his name, cause he’s afraid of what he might find out. I’m going, that might be the reason to Google your name because there was a lot of bad things out there, you know, just, just bad information, wrong information,
Jay Ligda 00:27:02 Misinformation, disinformation, you know, those are,
Jay Ligda 00:27:08 That’s another issue that I think is we’re trying to deal with, learn how to deal with in this expanding rapidly evolving digital age, misinformation, disinformation in data that the term that I wanted to share with you is the democratization of data and decentralization of data is what blockchain does, but it’s not, it’s not appropriate for large amounts of information because of the distribution. It’s gotta be distributed, but it can be used for ledgers and small amounts of information or hash representations of large amounts of data. So, um, it’s a good tool for that to offset authenticity, authenticate data within the blockchain, decentralized. You used the word decentralized quite a bit in your talk about the evolution of technology. Yeah. And I think that’s the trend that we are seeing.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:28:19 Yeah. And, and that’s, that’s right. When, when you look at back that Generation Z, which I call the iTechs, I, I, when I teach about it and train about them, I, I like to say there are 3D generation and the 3D that define those individuals born since year 2000 is first of all, they’re digital, they’re wholly digital. Secondly, they’re diverse. They’re the most diverse American generation in the history of America. And then thirdly, they are growing up in a totally decentralized culture, which is going to make them very, very easily. Um, I don’t want to use the word, um, let’s just use the word open or easily open to decentralized, uh, cultures, decentralized organizations, decentralized environments.
Jay Ligda 00:29:10 Yeah. Decentralized data. That’s where I’m hoping we’re evolving to, especially with blockchain technology. I hope it brings us to that. And that’s the mission of TrueDemocracy.Global is to help bring that about as far as communities and voting goes, storing votes within a platform that can’t be tampered with or altered and bringing the power to the communities and the people that are in it. Now, as far as authority goes, in this, uh, over the 19th century, what have you seen as far as our trust of authority and our respective authority with the evolution of technology?
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:29:54 Well, I think that’s pretty, pretty clear. I mean, uh, both trust and respect in every way we have lost, um, along the way with our technology. Uh, I, social media, I think, um, depending on your perspective, I tend to look at it from more of a positive view. Um, I think that there’s Facebook, for example, that’s primarily where I do a lot of my work. Uh, Facebook is, is, has been a very positive experience in that I’m an encouraging type of guy and I like to bring people together. I often connect just recently. I have, uh, had a student in one of my, uh, churches that I worked with many, many years ago. She has cancer. And, uh, she, I was also friends with a youth leader that worked with her back in those days. And they were, they, they had somehow gotten disconnected and I was able to put them, put them together through Facebook.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:30:49 You know and you think about high school reunions, you know, um, I mean, those have totally shifted. Uh, I just had my 40th high school reunion, which was a lot of fun, but I remember back on our 20th high school reunion when, which was a 19 or 20, 2011 when it was our 20th high school reunion. And I remember, well, that wouldn’t be, it ‘d be our 30th. It was our 30th. And I remember how social media had shifted, um, how, you know, because when we came back for our 20th, we didn’t know, we didn’t know each other. So we were constantly catching up. What’d you do? What’d you do with it? Now we know each other. Cause we know they’re stories, the stories, we know the struggles we know, we know the problems people are having, we know their joys, we know their successes because it’s all over social media.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:31:35 And that’s the benefit I think of, especially if Facebook, uh, where it stores, uh, your, your, your stories, it stores your moments, it stores your posts and creates what they call a memory feed. I don’t know if you ever go back and look at your memory feed on Facebook, but to me it’s fascinating. Usually most days I actually will go back and take a look, uh, just to see what I did on this day throughout. And I’ve been on Facebook since 2004, uh, 2005, maybe 2006, to be honest. Uh, I think Facebook accuracy was born in 2004, but I was a professor at the time and all my students were on Facebook and that’s when I learned about it. And I got on Facebook because that’s where my students were at and I could communicate better with them. But at that point, Facebook was only for educational institutions. It wasn’t open to anybody else. So as a professor, I was able to have early access. So I’ve been among the early adopters of social media. Uh, I, I never, I played with MySpace for about 24 hours. And then I said, nah, not for me. Um, but uh, Facebook tended to have some more, um, utilitarian purposes that were useful, uh, for more pragmatic,
Jay Ligda 00:32:54 Definitely changed quite a bit. And I think something that we’re taking for granted quite a bit as well, these days.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:33:01 Well, you look at, look at what YouTube is doing. YouTube is another one of those big giant platforms, but when I was researching GenTech I actually took each chapter. And one of the things I did was I spent a whole day doing nothing but watching YouTube videos and the history, you know, and, and we’re not talking about somebody else telling you the history of these things, which was always helpful too. We’re talking about like with the, uh, motion picture generation, I was able to go back and watch early motion pictures on YouTube, including the Great Train Robbery, which I think was 1912. Birth of a Nation, which was 1915, a very significant DW Griffith movie, uh, that, uh, really defined what we call the epic movie. They I had other problems with it and controversies of course, but you’re familiar with that movie, but as a movie maker, as a motion picture genre, it, it, there were these shifts and you can actually go back and watch it. You can go watch, um, you know, Einstein or not Einstein, uh, Edison did a number of early movies. He had his own movie company and they’re all online and you can watch these early movies, you know, that the Edison sneeze as they call it where he captured somebody sneezing. Well, if you’d never seen that on film before, it was just, it just blows your mind for us today. It’s just all, I was just somebody sneezing, but it’s history.
Jay Ligda 00:34:33 So on, on demand, on demand, that’s another shift that is
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:34:39 Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And the big thing that’s happening is it’s we, the people, uh, I, I’m not sure I’m going to ever release another book. This may be my last book for a major publisher, unless, uh, unless a publisher comes and offers me a deal I can’t refuse. I am literally moving to self-publishing and doing all my writing, uh, freely and, you know, finding other ways to, because for me, it’s just, it’s not, it’s not, um, um, you know, the book market has been totally decimated by the digitization of the culture. It’s just, you know, and by 2050, we won’t have books. And I love books. If I turned the screen around, you’d see my entire office is nothing but books. I have books everywhere. I love them, but I know, um, you know, when you can put all, you can put an entire library. In fact, I’m doing this right now, Google Books is digitizing a lot of early books. And today, for example, I’m doing a lot of black history study this month because of Black History Month, then the year in February when we recorded this. And, you know, I read today from a book that was written in 1880, 1882, about black history in the 1800s.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:35:58 Fascinating. Fascinating. And I actually can save it as a PDF. And I’m slowly building, I got probably a bigger digital library of PDFs from Google Books now than I do in my own personal library, because these take up shelf space.
Jay Ligda 00:36:15 Yeah. Right. So the evolution of writing from when the PC was introduced, I think that publication of books jumped by 500% was said, I, I couldn’t find any numbers on that, but that’s about what I calculated based on the information that I could get about 20 years ago when I did that research. And now, now you’re seeing it decline. You’re saying,
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:36:44 Yeah. Right. And you know, again, technology, particularly about what Twitter has done, I call it the Doogie Howser effect. You remember Doogie Howser. Um, did you ever watch that show back in the nineties, Neil Patrick Harris, Neil Patrick Harris was all about maybe 18 years old at the time playing this kid. I don’t think he was 18, maybe 16. He was just a kid. He was a, basically a boy genius, Doogie Howser MD. Uh, but it ran for a few seasons. But at the end of every Doogie Howser, he would summarize his show, with was just a little entry on his computer. So you get a computer, you’d write a one or two sentence entry. He was the first Twitter. He was the first tweeter. I mean, that’s what we did in 140 characters. He was doing it back in the 1990s. And now what’s happened is we become addicted to that frame. We want our information short, brief, succinct. Just tell me the facts and move on. Uh, if you, if you try to do anything too long, you get in trouble. Although I’m finding, I write, um, I write about 700 to a thousand word essays. Every single day. I post them on Facebook and I have regular readers. I have people tell me, I really just, I read your stuff all the time.
Jay Ligda 00:38:05 So you’re, you’re digitizing your writing. Probably won’t write another book, making it available freely and making that available on Facebook.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:38:14 Well, I’m not saying I won’t make the book available freely. I’m saying that I’ll probably self-publish it maybe through, through Amazon, Amazon, and they’ll do something like that, where it’s, where it’s a PDF or through my, I have a website where I, you can download even right now. Some of my books are PDF books for five bucks. I can just do a five buck download. Um, but I run a nonprofit organization. And so basically we call it a donation to our work. You’re donating five bucks and I’ll give you a book, uh, as, as a result that
Jay Ligda 00:38:47 So where can people find it if they want to look at your writing?
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:38:51 The best place is rickchromey.com. That’s where you can start RickChromey.com. You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, all the places you want to be, Jay, online.
Jay Ligda 00:39:04 Okay. Rick Chromey is this spelled C H R O M E Y.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:39:10 Uh, just right RickChromey.com. Okay.
Jay Ligda 00:39:15 Now, what else do we have to talk about?
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:39:19 Well, this is your show. Jay.
Jay Ligda 00:39:25 Let’s go back to authority and the evolution of the decentralization of authority in evolution. Now, I don’t know how far back you go in history in your studies. How far back do you go?
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:39:43 Uh, as far as the book, it goes back to 1900. I have started, COVID actually got me, uh, researching more than the 1800s, and really since the founding of America, so 1700s, 1800s, I started doing a lot more research in that area. And so a lot of my writing, uh, right now can come out of that particular period only for example, black history, which is what I’m writing right now. A lot of black history profiles. Um, I’m spotlighting black Americans to, we had forgotten, you know, we know about the Frederick Douglases and, uh, you know, Martin Luther Kings and the George Washington, Carvers those individuals, but, you know, Clara Brown and, um, you know, Biddy Mason, and some of these, some of these individuals, uh, um, you know, Robert, uh, Robert Hanson, those type of individuals we’ve lost, we’ve lost their names. We lost their stories. So part of what I’m doing is recapturing that, so, yeah, that’s kind of the period that I’ve been writing in lately.
Jay Ligda 00:40:49 Okay. And as a historian, you’re not necessarily looking for it, right. You’re looking back?
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:40:56 Uh, yeah. As the historian, what we tend to do is look for patterns. We look for stories. Um, I like to look for interesting stories in particular stories that I’ve not heard. And I like to know, kind of dust them off and bring them back, give ’em, give them a new shine. And, um, you know, maybe, well, what I would call Chrome or something like that, give him a little Chrome, you know, spit shine, bring them back and tell the story anew. That’s what makes GenTech I think such a fun book to read, you know, I think you have the book and it’s one of those things. It’s a fun book to read because it’s nothing but a, a lot of stories. You know, I was, I was amazed about the controversy between electronic and mechanical television, for example, you know, and here in Idaho, where I live, we all hear about Philo Farnsworth, you know, Philo Farnsworth, the founder of television.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:41:53 Well, there’s, there’s a whole narrative out there that says somebody else did that. Somebody else found it on television and his work was working, his name was Zworykin, a Russian guy. And he was the one that invented television, but a court ruled back in the late 1920s that Philo T Farnsworth, who had the patent, had the original patent on electronic television. So from that perspective, I do agree that he is the inventor of television, but Zworykin and who eventually got connected with NBC radio. And it was NBC and working in tandem together, uh, that did their best to erase. Uh, we might call it revise that type of history. Uh, so that, so Philo Farnsworth was kinda knocked out of that story.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:42:49 Um, there’s, uh, in the book I mentioned, there’s a legendary moment in the sixties where Philo Farnsworth is on that show. I think it’s, what’s your line, or what’s your, what’s your name or something like that, where people have to guess his identity. And he talks about himself being the founder or the inventor of television. Nobody knew who he was. Nobody knew who he was and when he passed away, if it wasn’t for his widow, a lot of the information about Philo Farnsworth would be lost. Out in Eastern Idaho there is an entire museum dedicated in his hometown to, uh, to television. And it’s an amazing place to visit and, and study, you know, the early technology of television. But, but yeah, I mean, those are the stories that I like to recapture, uh, and, and bring back and help us understand. Another one is just the area of space technology. You know, we all know that space technology was, was, as we were in, uh, in this race with the Russians to the moon in the 1960s, we were relying upon our scientists.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:43:52 What we didn’t realize was most Americans didn’t realize. Uh, and we don’t realize today that those scientists were largely German scientists who had rocket expertise. They had created a rocket. These Germans, uh, had created what was called The Vengeance to rocket back at the very end of World War II. And as Americans were, as we were going in and scouring through, uh, through, uh, Europe looking for, for Hitler and looking for Nazis, we came across these V2 as they call it V2, uh, prototypes and V2, uh, um, you know, documents showed how to make ’em. And we did what was called Operation Paperclip. And I can’t remember how many we brought back. I was, I want to think anywhere from 75 to 150, I’d have to go back and look at the actual number, but it was a substantial amount.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:44:43 Operation Paperclip brought back all these German scientists, and we put them on a bases all over America, uh, primarily a couple. And we just did nothing with them. You know, these scientists, these German scientists, these German engineers, caused the German rocketeers, basically to sit on their thumbs for almost two decades until Sputnik went up and Americans with, oh, our, our leaders went, wow, we gotta be doing something about this. And the only people who knew anything about rockets were these German Nazi scientists. And that’s who we can thank for putting us on the moon. It was German.
Jay Ligda 00:45:23 Well, that’s an interesting story. And I just want to get back to the theme of change and evolution. Space technology is something else. It’s becoming decentralized, right?
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:45:34 Private company, Elon Musk, and yeah.
Jay Ligda 00:45:36 Building rockets. So besides decentralization, what’s the other, is, are there any other trends that you see?
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:45:46 Well, other than the digitization, uh, the decentralization of, of our, um, of everything, you know, um, obviously again, the holographic artificial intelligence, robotics, those are the, those are the micro, uh, um, technologies that are going to pop trust me by the year 2030, uh, it’s going to look like a whole new world out there. You will see robots everywhere. In fact, I was just talking with somebody last night. They said, uh, the NBC news did a piece on the Olympics. Um, a story on the, uh, Olympic kitchen and cafeteria. And I didn’t see this. So I’m just, this is coming second, secondhand, but they’d said that the entire cafeteria over there, uh, with the Olympians is the, all the food is created by robots. It’s all delivered by robots. Wow. Yeah. Wow. It was right.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:46:45 Because it’s like that and see, here’s the problem in our COVID culture right now, we’re having a hard time. A lot of small businesses, a lot of restaurants are having a hard time finding workers. Well guess where that is going to go in the future. As soon as we take the money and they put the investments in robots, robots will be serving us. Robots will be cooking for us. Um, there’s already, I think it’s called zoom Zoom pizza. Uh, it’s about three quarters of the pizza pie itself is made by robots, you know, and then we deliver it, deliver it by a drone. What’s a drone, a robot.Yeah. That’s our world.
Jay Ligda 00:47:21 So I, I, I’m sure there’s a concern that this could increase the gap between the haves and the have-nots. I would imagine
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:47:29 . Absolutely. Absolutely. And again, technology tends to do that, but at the same time, think about a smartphone. I mean, they’re not cheap. A smartphone is not cheap. And yet, uh, last I saw, what was it? 90% of cell phone users have a smartphone. So, you know, obviously even the have nots, I have a way of figuring out how to get a hold of one. Um, you know, so certain technologies do that. Think about television. Television is, you know, as we have more of it a lot of those prices will come down. But at the same time, look at car prices right now. A lot of that’s due to supply chain, but supply car prices are horrendous. You know, what’s an average car price in American today is $47,000. Are you kidding me? Do you realize that in 1920, $47,000 would buy you a mansion in town? Yeah. Today it buys you a car. So money, money is, and a lot of that inflation is of course, it’s due to printing money. Uh, it’s just, we’re just printing money left and right, right now. And, um, there’ll be interest to see where it takes us.
Jay Ligda 00:48:47 Yeah. Only time will tell. We have to, um, get on the train, which we all are and take the ride and do our best.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:48:56 To make the ride.
Jay Ligda 00:48:58 So there’s a question on your list here that might be leading us in another direction, but I wanted to ask you: Why do children in teams act up or act out?
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:49:10 Oh, that is way off topic.
Jay Ligda 00:49:13 Maybe
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:49:14 Maybe, well, I do have a, am I in my former life? I was a youth pastor and I, uh, an education professor. So I dealt a lot with teachers and such. And, and one of the, the number one problems, uh, today is, uh, it with teaching and even parenting, it’s just discipline. And so I started, I started thinking of the one, I think I had, it actually originated with an article. I was asked to write an article on why kids misbehave and that’s where it all came from. It was just, I was trying to think of what would be simple. I want to make things simple, you know, again, educators, uh, the best educators and really take hard things and make them simple. So when I was thinking about, um, thinking about misbehavior, there were really only three reasons. I could see that in general. And I’m talking in general, uh, children, teenagers, really adults as well, but primarily children, teenagers, misbehave, uh, the, the, the greatest one is belonging. They’re having a trouble fitting in finding community, finding, you know, the connection with, uh, with the subject, with the teacher, with their peers. So they act up and act out, uh, they, they wave a flag basically and say, Hey, I’m not, I’m not fitting in. And so that can be a very, I, in fact, 80% of a lot 80% of misbehavior, I think in the home, as well as in the classroom is belonging issues. And that’s, that’s correctable by both the parent and the, uh, and the teacher.
Jay Ligda 00:50:46 So that’s No go, go ahead. Sorry, go ahead. Ask your question. I was going to ask exactly what you were about to say,
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:50:52 But the
Jay Ligda 00:50:53 Next, well, what’s the next one.Yeah.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:50:55 The next one is boredom or I don’t know. Yeah, we act up when we’re bored. The attention span of a, of a pre-teen or a preschooler is directly related to their age. If you’re two years old, you have a two minute attention span. If you’re five years old you have a five minute attention span, if you’re 16 year old, you have a four minute attention span. And the reason for that is because of social media, the average YouTube video is four minutes long. Uh, so teenagers today had been groomed by social media, micromedia, um, Snapchat to TicTak, uh, Twitter, these other types of social media, where everything is very short, um, to have short attention spans. Uh, the last one is simply beliefs. Uh, these are, uh, inner beliefs that we have about ourselves often framed by our environment. And it emerges in our pre-teen years, you don’t see little kids dealing with this so much, but you do see 10 year olds, 11 year olds, 12 year olds, and certainly teenagers struggling with what they believe about themselves. And, you know, they already have put themselves inside a box. And that’s one of my jobs, again, as an educator, even as a parent, was to help my child know that, Hey, listen, we got to get you outside of this. And you’re bigger than the box that other people put you in, including your parents. Our parents can put us in boxes that can be horrific boxes that we live with on our entire life.
Jay Ligda 00:52:28 Yeah. So the reason why I asked this is to tie it back into technology. Okay. And, uh, how, how do you see our digital age affecting these three issues?
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:52:42 Well, obviously again with boredom, it’s very simple, um, uh, social media technology, we tend to babysit and this is, this is nothing new. Uh, again, I think the radio, uh, in some ways I think you can go all the way back to motion picture uh, generation. I mean, what’d you do when, when you were bored, you know, when you’re feeling you went and saw a movie, they’ll get it out of the house, go down to the moviehouse. Yeah. You know, you turn on the radio eventually and you’ll listen to Molly, Fibber and Faber McGee or whoever, you know.
Jay Ligda 00:53:20 Read a book
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:53:22 The technology tends to become a babysitter television, particularly for those of us born post 1960 who became a huge, huge babysitter. A lot of times we came home, we were known as latchkey children. This generation we’d come home. Nobody was at home to watch it so we turned on the television. For me, it was three channels. Two of them were snowy. I called them the weather channels. But, you know, we’d watch, um, you know, the Brady Bunch reruns or we’d watch, uh, Bewitched or something like that. Or, um, you know, Gilligan’s Island, you know, pretty innocuous stuff. But with cable television, there was introduced, which came about in the eighties as the, as the later generations, the babysitting became more PG oriented, more even R rated at times. And then when you could go into your room and televisions became something that parents allowed, you know, when you had a television in every single room, I know people have televisions in their bathrooms.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:54:20 It’s like really, you know, it’s just things, things have changed and television became that space. And now what’s happened is the, you know, the internet and the cell phone, you know, think about how the cell phone now is a part of everything we are. Um, you know, if you lose your cellphone, it’s like a death in the family, you know, it’s very difficult. I mean, you go through the same grief process until you find your phone or you try to recover your life. You ever had a hard drive crash, Jay. Oh, geez. Yeah. Yeah. I remember one time I had just finished an entire book and it was about, ready to send it off to the publisher. And I got the blue screen moment, and lost the entire book. Jeez. And I was under a deadline. I literally had to sequester myself away.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:55:11 And for two straight weeks I wrote an entire book. It was unbelievable. I’m not, I didn’t do anything. And I was sure at the end, I was crazy. It was unbelievable. But you know, today, uh, you know, I, I used to think the cloud was somewhat secure, but you know, I’m not so convinced of that. I had an issue with my Mac and I put everything up in my Mac and my cloud through my Mac, and they’re constantly talking to each other. Well, I had a situation where it was duplicating data and I don’t know how that happened, but it was actually duplicating. So I kept running out of space, kept running out and then it kept shooting it up, except it was only shooting up parts in the end. I lost probably in this last one, I think 40% of my data, including a lot of music that I had, you know, had, I thought it was all up in the cloud,
Jay Ligda 00:56:07 The other technology that’s, uh, that’s evolving and getting, getting better and okay. Yeah. Anyway, back to the question about the teens acting out, I, I wanted to ask that in relation to technology today and also tied into the trust and respect of authority. And I was just wondering if there was a trend in the 19th century related to technology about, um, that caused teens to act out more or had an effect on, on that, that, um, aspect.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:56:46 Yeah. Well, there’ve been a number of studies that show how smartphones in particular have contributed to a lot more delinquency. Obviously, even narcissism, as well as just general depression, suicide. A lot of those have been linked to social media and smartphone use. And you know, that, that again is unique. It’s unique to one generation born since 2000, because those of us who were older, we didn’t have that. Even millennials didn’t have that they went through similar struggles, but they didn’t deal with it as, as specific as that, the idea of being cyber bullied, you know, that was, that was relatively, uh, you know, that emerged in the millennial, late millennial generation. But yeah, so
Jay Ligda 00:57:36 We had the television and Buckminster Fuller, who we mentioned, we talked about before, not in this conversation, but he agreed with you about that leading towards the cultural revolution in the sixties. And he specifically said suddenly there was another authority in the house. It wasn’t just the parents. So here we had a whole generation that was acting out. Yeah. And, and, and, um, and so today we have just massive amounts of information at our fingertips. And so there’s, there’s, uh, unlimited, uh, authorities. They can affect our beliefs, and contradiction or to what our authority figures in our schools, families, or, uh, communities might say. Yeah.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:58:32 Um, well, for those of us who were born in the sixties and seventies, particularly the sixties, it was interesting in the 1970s. We had a slew of movies that involve children, but the movies were very negative. They were anti-child, you know, you think about, uh, you know, the Exorcist, uh, and how this little girl was possessed. You think about bad news bears. We were Goonies, you know, we were just bad kids, you know, and even in the eighties. So when we grew up and in the eighties, then even though they brought in more wholesome family fare that I call the Disney effect upon television, we started looking at television programming. You know, you had everything from All in the family, Family Ties to Home Improvement. Those types of shows, Cosby, all those came in and in the, in the late eighties and nineties, and it was, it was a good, it was a good shift.
Dr. Rick Chromey 00:59:29 And that lot of that was because the millennial generation was being born, but there was also a repercussion, there was a backside and let’s call it a backwash. Uh, you also had the Simpsons, you also had Roseanne, you had Married with Children, which tended to look at these family units, not as wholesome, not as, not as productive, but more as highly dysfunctional. And I’ll be honest. I actually related more with Roseanne than I did with the Cosby Show. You know, and it’s, I’m not talking, it’s not about a black or white issue there. I’m talking about, you know, in the Cosby Show, both of them were, uh, very high earning. I think he was a pediatrician and she was a lawyer. They were making a lot of money. The kids were well off. It was a wealthy home. Uh, and, and both parents were functional. Uh, it was just, it was, it was different than my mom was more like Roseanne and Claire Huxtable, you know?
Jay Ligda 01:00:29 Yeah.
Dr. Rick Chromey 01:00:30 And I think a lot of that did have an impact in as far as how we acted out, you know, because we, there, there is an argument about media and I’ll close on this. Is that, does the media reflect what’s going on in culture? Or is it a mirror, you know, is it, or is it a, is it a producer? Uh, and by that, the mirror, it also, is it already out there in culture and in all television, does all of what movies do is what the music does, is it just mirroring it or is it actually, on the cutting edge and it’s producing and you know, there’s, there can be an argument made for both sides.
Jay Ligda 01:01:06 I think so. I think so. Okay. One more question. And I’m hoping that you can answer this really quickly, even though it sounds like it might be a loaded question in your book title you say, “Who we really are?” So who are we really?
Dr. Rick Chromey 01:01:23 Well that’s, that’s what I’m saying. We’re not the Baby Boom Generation. We are the Space Television Generation. We’re not, yeah, we’re more defined by the technology that was bubbling and it bubbles about our 10th birthday, every generation is about 20 years long, but every 10 years there’s a new technology that is bubbling, that’s tipping and it’s, you know, starts off with the telephone and transportation generation in 1900, then the motion pictures in 1910 and then the radio in 1920. And then, and then you’ve got vinyl records in 1930 and 1940; it’s television and 1950, it’s space. And in 1960, it’s the video game generation starts to emerge, uh, in 1970. It’s cable television that starts to emerge in 1980 it’s the personal computer and cell phone. And in 1990, it’s the net, the internet that starts to emerge in the year 2000. It’s those iGen that I’ve talked about. And in the year 2010 it’s robotics.
Jay Ligda 01:02:26 Oh, and blockchain too. Yeah.
Dr. Rick Chromey 01:02:28 And then blockchain plays a part of that blockchain being more recent in that, in that technology, that’ll be in my next book. I’ll have to have Jay be my, uh, expert witness for my blockchain compliments..
Jay Ligda 01:02:42 Yeah. We’ll see what we can do with that. It’s been a delight to talk to you. I feel like I could talk on and on, but we want to appreciate and respect the attention span of our listeners. Visit Rick Chromey AT rickchromey.com. You can get more information about who he is, what he does, and as well, purchases, book, and other writings on his website. The TrueDemocracy.Global podcast mission is to explore topics related to democracy and systems authority, as well as the technologies that support them. We cast a wide net to bring in information from a variety of sources, with the intention of shedding light in every corner, in an illuminating abroad in deep understanding of the systems that exist past and present with this understanding what you’re finding our nonprofit mission, which supports our vision to build trust, encourage constructive collaboration and providing an avenue for the authenticity of, and the secure storage of the information. Please visit TrueDemocracy.Global for more information. Thank you, Rick.