The Shock of the New

Breathtaking science, new social mores, world-changing tech — Medium explores The New New all month long

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uman beings are programmed to seek out the novel and the new. The psychological term for it is neophilia, which is that drive for the unexperienced and the unexplored. It’s what powers fields like computer science and medicine and tech, spurring invention and discovery. And it’s also fuel for fear.

We crave the new — but we resist it. We obsess over the future, and are pulled back into the past. We pray tomorrow will be better than yesterday, even though we really only have today (dark, but true). It’s heady stuff. But it’s also rich territory for reading and thinking, which is why The New New is the theme of this issue.

All month long, we’ll look at new ways to solve old problems, from catching serial killers to powering your phone. We’ll reveal stunning scientific discoveries happening in real time, and explain what they mean for you (and the future of the species). We’ll dig into the psychological underpinnings of novelty-seeking behavior. We’ll look at how businesses are preparing for the future. And we’ll talk about who (and what) people are having sex with these days.

At the same time, we won’t ignore the motion sickness that accompanies this accelerated pace of change. Our quest for the new has sped up our lives — by one count, human movement has increased by a factor of 100, communications by a factor of 10 million, information transmission by 10 billion. Yet our stubborn bodies and brains remain largely unchanged — a 10-speed bike on the Autobahn.

We may not be made for these times, but the new doesn’t ask for your permission. Online and off, at work and in your home, at the laboratory and at the ballot box, change is here — and this month, Medium is your guide.

You can follow this all month long here: The New New.

Written by

VP, Editorial @Medium. I write and edit, usually in that order.

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