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Coming back around
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Welcome to New World Same Humans, a newsletter on trends, technology, and our shared future by David Mattin.
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In the most recent instalment of this newsletter, I metaphorically popped out for some milk.
That is to say, I announced that the newsletter would go on pause for a few weeks. Well, it’s been more than a few weeks. In fact, I can’t quite bring myself to say how long it’s been. Too long — let’s just leave it at that.
But here, at last, we are. Sitting down to write this note feels exciting and a little strange. Like meeting an old friend after an intermission of several years, and instantly picking up where you both left off.
The truth is that my few weeks turned into an extended period of reflection.
So in this brief note I want to make it official: New World Same Humans is back! And also to lay out a direction for our community from here.
📖 Closing this chapter
Before I get into all that, a brief update on the life events that lay behind the pause.
Leo is now fully recovered from his operation, which was a total success. He’s back at school. And free once again to jump all over his twin brother, which is his great hobby and central purpose in life.
Huge thanks to the hundreds — yes, hundreds — of you who replied to the first email about Leo.
There were too many to reply to individually (though I did try). But Leo and I read every message, and during those first days after the operation, when he couldn’t get out of bed, they did much to entertain and inspire him.
🛣 The road ahead
Huge thanks, also, to those of you who wrote more recently to say: hey, what happened to the newsletter?
The pause only heightened my feeling that it’s a huge privilege to be allowed into the inboxes of so many engaged, thoughtful, and curious people. I can’t wait to get going again.
So, on that note, what lies ahead?
The first step is to restart New Week, the central weekly update. This email has evolved over time to become the core of NWSH, and there’s no reason to change that. So expect the first one in you inbox next Wednesday 25 October.
Beyond that, the fundamental structure I’d established will remain in place. That means that in addition to the weekly email there will be occasional short notes and longform essays.
The essays are where I can explore the more philosophical strands of my thinking. But I also want to broaden the kinds of writing available via these pieces, to include book reviews and interviews with technologists and thinkers.
The dream, as some of you already know — we’ve discussed it endlessly in the community — is a book club.
Speaking of the community, that’s the focus of the biggest change. The current NWSH community operates inside Slack. But recent changes to the platform mean that it no longer serves us well. Meanwhile, Substack has been busy adding community features of its own. So I’m going to reboot our gatherings right here, via Substack’s own community tools.
In practice, this means the launch of a new Monthly Salon email. I’ll send a note inviting discussion on a timely subject, and everyone will be able to dive in and chat in the comment thread below the post. I’ve seen a few other Substack newsletters enacting community in this way, and it works really well.
In time, if all goes well, I’ll introduce further community features, including online hangouts for those who prefer their interactions face-to-face.
And that’s about the size of it when it comes to what NWSH will send your way.
As ever, there are a couple of big projects in the works that I can’t wait to unveil. But announcements on those will have to wait.
🙌 One for all
It makes sense that the way we do community will be the biggest change around here.
Because that is, above all, what I want this place to continue to become: a shared enterprise. A space we all gather in.
That’s related to another imperative I feel acutely in light of broader changes at work in the world: principally the advance of machine intelligence. This place should be about understanding, yes. But it should also be about feeling.
In so many ways, we’re living through an incredible world-historical moment. A technology revolution is eating recognisably human modes of living and being, and spitting out something else. Something other.
I want NWSH to become a space in which we come together to make sense of what’s happening. But also to commune with one another on how it feels to be living through all this. To share our reflections on how to navigate through the terrain ahead. How to know ourselves, and flourish, amid destabilising change that often feels beyond our collective control.
The internet will soon be full of AI-generated content. But what the machines can’t tell us — will never be able to tell us — is how it feels to be human right now. Only we can talk meaningfully about our experiences and values. About how we should live.
So, that’s destination I hope we can reach together.
A community of thought, feeling, and endless curiosity. A space for news, analysis, and theoretical understanding; but also of refuge and mutual support. I can’t wait to fire it all up again. And to hear from you.
I’ll be back next week. Thanks for reading,