Since streaming media is widely understood to represent the future of entertainment, some might ask how “longtermism” could influence, shape, or change the direction of this relatively new technology?

The term “longtermism” was coined around 2017 by Oxford philosophers William MacAskill and Toby Ord. Then Sigal Samuel, a senior reporter at the New York City-based Vox Media (owned by Comcast) summarized the key elements of the concept by noting that “longtermism” means that “future people matter morally just as much as people alive today. There may well be more people alive in the future than there are in the present or have been in the past. We can positively affect future peoples’ lives.”

MacAskill returned to the subject with an article in the August 7, 2022 edition of The New York Times. “Society tends to neglect the future in favor of the present,” he wrote. “Future people are utterly disenfranchised. They can’t vote or lobby or run for public office, so politicians have scat incentive to think about them. They are the true silent majority. And though we can’t give political power to future people, we can at least give them fair consideration.”

There are two implicit questions in MacAskill’s statements. First, can a new form of television projected toward the future (such as streaming) become a political power, as linear media did? And how can today’s streaming media operations give “consideration” to future people?

From today’s point of view, streaming media is definitely a good candidate for longtermism, but it isn’t yet clear if it could give consideration to future people, the same way that, for example, renewable energy can.

Longtermism has its supporters, especially among tech entrepreneurs such as Jaan Tallinn and Elon Musk, and even by corporate executives who, according to investor relations IR Magazine, want the market to take a less short-term perspective.

But it has also many detractors, including many folks in the investors’ community. “The Struggle with Long-termism” is a recent article in the publication Investor’s Champion.

Ben Chugg, a research fellow at Stanford University, was even more blunt: “Why care about parasitic worms in Africa if we can secure utopia for future generations?” he wrote in a research paper. “In other words, longtermism is a dangerous moral ideal because it robs us of the ability to correct our mistakes.”

Please follow and like us: