Green IO
#29 Cosmology and Technology with Maxime Blondeau
December 5, 2023
We don't always need a science-fiction device "à la Star Trek" to get transported somewhere else. Discussing with Maxime Blondeau results in such a journey where I discover how anthropology, geography, and cosmology can help us understand better digital technologies and more specifically: 🤯 Why Digital Tech is not the first mind revolution humanity has gone through 🌪️ Why its magnitude will be as impactful as the previous ones 🗺️ How our representation of an over expanding digital world alters our perception of our material world 🧠 Why our attention is such a precious - and increasingly scarce - resource 🎁 Plus a breaking news shared by Maxime at the end of the episode! 📣 Before rushing to listen to this 29th episode, do not forget to book your ticket for the Green IO conference in Paris, December 8th. Join us to get the latest insights on Digital Sustainability with Aurore Stéphant, Perrine Tanguy, Tristan Nitot, Julia Meyer, Theo Alves Da Costa, Pindy Bullar, Vincent Poncet, and more! Get also feedback from all the teams involved in the 2023 Sustainable Digital Challenge: Allianz, Axa, BlaBlaCar, BNP Paribas Cardif, Ekwateur, Evaneos, Groupama, INSEE, Leboncoin, Norauto, SNCF! And it's free for our listeners! Register here with the voucher GREENIOVIP. We're looking forward to seeing hundreds of you there 😍.
We don't always need a science-fiction device "à la Star Trek" to get transported somewhere else.
Discussing with Maxime Blondeau results in such a journey where I discover how anthropology, geography, and cosmology can help us understand better digital technologies and more specifically:
🤯 Why Digital Tech is not the first mind revolution humanity has gone through
🌪️ Why its magnitude will be as impactful as the previous ones
🗺️ How our representation of an over expanding digital world alters our perception of our material world
🧠 Why our attention is such a precious - and increasingly scarce - resource
🎁 Plus a breaking news shared by Maxime at the end of the episode!

📣 Before rushing to listen to this 29th episode, do not forget to book your ticket for the Green IO conference in Paris, December 8th. 
Join us to get the latest insights on Digital Sustainability with Aurore Stéphant, Perrine Tanguy, Tristan Nitot, Julia Meyer, Theo Alves Da Costa, Pindy Bullar, Vincent Poncet, and more! Get also feedback from all the teams involved in the  2023 Sustainable Digital Challenge: Allianz, Axa, BlaBlaCar, BNP Paribas Cardif, Ekwateur, Evaneos, Groupama, INSEE, Leboncoin, Norauto, SNCF!
And it's free for our listeners! Register here with the voucher GREENIOVIP. We're looking forward to seeing hundreds of you there 😍.

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Maxime's sources and other references mentioned in this episode:


[00:00:00] Gaël quoting Maxime: "There is no contradiction, according to me, in using digital technology to perceive and represent infinity. But, we have to use it, and to see it, and to represent it, within constraints, the 1 and the 2. If we are seeing it and using it in the 1, 2, 3 infinity, then we're going to have problems, because the material world is limited..."

[00:00:32] Gaël: Hello, everyone. Welcome to Green IO, the podcast for responsible technologists building a greener digital world, one byte at a time. Our guests from across the globe share insights, tools, and alternative approaches, enabling people within the tech sector and beyond to boost digital sustainability. Before we start, a quick note for my European based listeners, you are invited to the Green IO conference in Paris on December the 8th. for free. I partnered with API days to bring you an amazing lineup, starting with Aurore Stéphant, Tristan Nitot, Théo Alves Da Costa, and all the teams involved in the 2023 sustainable digital challenge. The link to register is in the episode notes.

Our representation of the territory depends on our senses, our culture, the data we capture, but also the technical systems we choose. This is where cosmography, the graphic representation of the world, becomes essential to our existence. However, ecological disruption reflects a failure of our collective representation of the territory. This imbalance probably dates from the Neolithic revolution 12, 000 years ago. When we became sedentary, we built systems of exploitation and domination of a territory perceived as infinite.

In 2023, we are still mainly guided by this archaic mindset. This Maxime Blandeau quote powerfully resonated with me when I first read it, because this point set also drives our understanding of digital technology, which is seen as infinite and limitless by default, hence the use of the words cloud, universe, metaverse, Endless possibilities or the quest for infinite double digit gross This verbatim speaks volume about our digital tech cosmology and we should question ourselves, asking what could be a representation of digital technologies which enable a sustainable future for them?.

And for humankind I am a long-time fan of Maxime's work from his LinkedIn daily post of beautiful maps, to his course at the Paris Political Institute (Paris Science Po for my French listeners) which he decided to fully open source as he did for the. 40 plus conferences he gave on geography, technology and attention economy. He is also not a stranger to entrepreneurship, having co -founded a start-up, and I hope he will join the growing community of the French podcasters soon, and today it's an honor to have him on our show to take a huge step back and reflect on our collective understanding of digital technology.

Welcome Maxime, thank you for joining Green IO today.

[00:03:33] Maxime: Thank you Gaël, I'm very happy to be here.

[00:03:36] Gaël: Me as well. So, to put things in perspective, I mean, you post every day, including Sunday, on LinkedIn, a nice little text, I don't know how many, I think you're pretty close to hit the 1 million followers on LinkedIn, that's just insane, and this regularity, it's just amazing, I mean, I got it, like the blossoming and the richness of our world is a big source of inspiration, but how do you find the resources to produce qualitative content every day? I'm just amazed.

[00:03:42] Maxime: Well, I connect all my activities, the teaching, the entrepreneurship, the conference, the talks, I give and, the LinkedIn post. And the result is that some content come s to me, so almost every week I have readers contacting me, let's say 'I thought about you, here is a subject that you could add to'. So, in the end, it's like things are coming to me. I'm doing curation, of course, I rewrite, et cetera. But it seems that it's easier and easier to find your subject because, I mean, people want to share. And they also want to help me to find the right subject. So, in the end, I'm not alone to choose my subject every day, my daily topic.

[00:05:00] Gaël: The power of a community of committed people. That's one explanation. Now I'd like to ask you maybe to set the stage. I would love to ask you a simple and very complicated question. What can anthropology bring to our understanding of digital technology?

[00:05:18] Maxime: I'm a tech anthropologist, that is to say that I use anthropology, human science, to explore the relationship, very ancient, actually, relationship between, the way we build technical systems.

And the way we think, that's what anthropology can add to the understanding of a technical system in general, and a digital system in particular. So, I have a course at Sciences Po, but also at an engineering school called Mines Paris, PSR. It's one of the main engineering schools in Paris. And in Sciences Po, my course is programming the world, and I study how we program, that is to say, how we pre -write technical systems, technical structures. And how those technical structures program us in return, and how there is actually a link between how we define design, technical structures, infrastructure and superstructure and how it changes the way we develop perception. We develop attention to the world, because that's the place where technical systems, and culture meet and it creates a whole lot of belief systems. And that's what anthropology can bring to a better understanding of what's technical, and in particular these days, what digital systems do to the world.

[00:06:55] Gaël: And how massive is it? the destruction that digital technologies bring to the world, I mean is it just an evolution of some set of existing technologies, or is it something comparable to the reinvention of printing, because the Chinese had already known how to print centuries before the Europeans, or even the alphabet, what kind of level of disruption are we talking about when we are talking about digital technologies?

[00:07:25] Maxime: Well, there is a British anthropologist called Jack Goody, who was studying the effect of, graphic systems on, cultural mindsets, let's say, but particularly by studying, African population s in the seventies that had, at the time, never seen any scriptures, written characters. They were living in orality, and he developed a theory, by observing what it made to the culture to the belief systems to the way people were living and interacting with the world. So, he developed a theory on what he called mind technologies. Mind technologies are pretty much information technologies, but with certain characteristics, and he included language, for instance. Writing, alphabet printing, telecommunication. And we can also consider that digital systems, digital technologies are part of this 'mind' technologies category.

And what Jack Goody brought to the conversation is the fact that there is a correlation, a very narrow relationship between. the effect of the arrival of such a mind technology and the way culture evolved and the way cultures represent the world. And there are many, many stories, archetypal legends, throughout the world that tell the story of this moment when lot of new information suddenly arrived into a society because a new technology emerged and it changed the way people see, nature, for instance, and when you just take one of the most famous myth, of western culture, the, the Adam and Eve story, the fall of Eden, well, that's the story of what Jack Goody could call cognitive revolution, techno, technical and cognitive revolution, that is to say that actually you can see that story as something that happened that changed the way you, deal with knowledge and information, and that created this balance, a fall in the way you see the world. Nature and the balance of living things and actually, an ecological sustainable way of living the world. So, anthropology can tell you that there is a very deep link between digital and green climate, sustainable transition, I mean, from a very long time.

[00:10:23] Gaël: And did You already notice some trends in the way we represent the world with the arrival of digital technologies?

[00:10:34] Maxime: Yeah. Yes, absolutely. I don't know if it's the right expression in English, but I'm going to try. In French, there is that idea of volume géographique mental (geographical mental volume).

[00:10:44] Gaël: What is it? The ability of information that you can gather in your head, the maximum amount of information, or is it something different?

[00:10:52] Maxime: Yeah, but it's not a quantity, it's more related to space. For instance, our grandparents and the grandparents of our grandparents were living in a village. Maybe they had in mind their city and the valley and the mountains. And that was... their world, like really the representation of space, the idea they had of the space that constitutes their world was that and beyond, there were just stories.

They had no idea of, you know, distances and even the names of the countries and the continents, et cetera. And nowadays, I mean, it's totally changed. We can see pictures on social media of almost every place in the world, we can measure distance and times, on Google maps. We have, thanks to the new digital technology, our generation, and also new mobility, transportation, and new sources of information, so a very different comprehension of distances, and geographical perception of the world. And it also changes the way we, as humans, see the world as a planet, because as you may know, the first picture of planet earth is quite recent. It was taken in 1972, and it's called the blue marble. And, everything that the digital technologies can bring in terms of imagery, in terms of picturing the world, is really changing our representation and this can go to the right or the wrong side of things.

[00:12:36] Gaël: And actually, I’ve heard that people experiencing this out of space experience, of watching the planet earth, this beautiful blue planet earth but also super fragile, that once you start to realize the magnitude of things, and how small we are, it's got a name, I think…

[00:12:58] Maxime: It's I called the overview effect

[00:13:00] Gaël: thank you. Is it the kind of example that highlights what you just said, that it completely changes the perception, and usually people get very into sustainability after that.

[00:13:12] Maxime: Yes, it is. I mean, the overview effect would be one of the most distant and global ways of representing that idea, that our perception of the world can change, and it can create emotion and psychological changes. But imagine that this effect - a psychiatric and psychological physiological effect, happens, but on a daily basis, and on the way we represent time and space and distances and what the world is. And also, that's also why I'm a tech anthropologist by, I don't know, academically speaking, but what I'm doing on LinkedIn, posting and also, talking, is more cosmology. That is to say, our thought system, the way we represent the world as it is, and cosmology is a word academically that is used to describe our understanding of space, like the far and distant universe. But actually, what I'm interested in is the way that our cosmology, immediate cosmology, is changing nowadays. That is to say the way we represent the word, but the close word, like the word around our feet, the world, the plant, the vegetable, the animal world, around our village, our house, our home, it's an infinite universe as well, and it's changing very quickly these days. I mean, in the last 30, 40 years, the representation, the way we picture the world is really changing, and it can be an opportunity if we decide to direct that new look at things, into the right direction, and it can be a threat if we are preventing ourselves to understand better and to perceive better the world, and what is essential to our survival, for instance.

[00:15:12] Gaël: What are the main trains in this representation of our world, which has changed that much in the last 30, 40 years, as you said, and I know it will be oversimplifying, but can you try maybe to tell us the top three or top five massive changes, which are already happening.

[00:15:32] Maxime: Okay. The first transformation would be the way we collect data. So right now, we are collecting huge amounts of data on the world. I mean, it's never been that range before. So, thanks to the digital system that all my technologies [use], but principally information systems, we are now able to collect a huge amount of data. That data can be used for science, the comprehension of natural earth science, et cetera. But that huge amount of data can also be used by business companies. It can be used by government, public policies. And actually, we now have a very deep, profound, transformation on the way we perceive the world as organizations, as scientists, as business leaders, as government leaders doing public policy.  So, I would say the first change right now is the amount of data and what we are or will be able to do with the data. Secondly, it would be more something related to imagery. So not only figures, numbers, data's quantitative information, but more the quality of the things we can see and it's related to media. So social media, but also TV and movies and, photo, I don't know, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, et cetera, or in China, WeChat and all those social media, are shaping a new image of the world by. letting us exchange billions of pictures and images every day. So, we are creating belief systems by exchanging a lot of pictures of the world.

[00:17:37] Gaël: And what could be an example of a new belief that has been created by Instagram or WeChat?

[00:17:47] Maxime: It's not created by, it's more amplified and its effect has been amplified. I don't know. There are many, there are good representations. There are errors as well. For instance, flat earth representation, I mean, right now you have this international flat earth society based in the U S, but in France, for instance that is a small country, there is between eight to 10 percent of the population that believe in the flat earth representation. Why? Because, social media and digital systems are promoting a certain picture, a certain representation of the world.

Right now, we are in a cosmographical revolution, that is to say, everything is changing, and we are in the eye of a hurricane, you know, and it could go in the wrong direction. And, for instance, the flat earth belief, it's not something that is just funny. It's something that is really deep, and that's one example of how digital media right now can produce a belief system in picturing the world differently.

But we could, we could talk about climate belief, climate skepticism, eco -denial belief systems that are related to the way we are picturing the world. And the third one that I wanted to mention would be more related to what we could call indicators or measurements of our impact. For instance, companies right now want to better understand the changes in the world, climate change, biodiversity, water consumption, resources, and how it will impact their businesses.

And, now, thanks to new technological systems, infrastructure, digital infrastructure, for instance, we can implement these measurements into our business models and take these decisions accordingly, and that's new.

[00:19:52] Gaël: Okay, fair enough. So, three big trends. I got it. The amount of data, the way we collect data, the ability to measure or impact.

I remember that in one of your conferences, you kind of illustrated our collective reaction, with two caricatures who are Homo Deus and Homo Humilis. And if I understood it well, it was a reaction to this mind revolution that we are in between and how people position themselves. Could you tell us a bit more about representations?

[00:20:30] Maxime: Yes, that is more the belief systems that could be emerging right now when we are collectively facing a double crisis.

One, a crisis of information and two a crisis of space and time, ecological crisis, but also identity crisis, the way we relate to the place where we live And facing that huge challenge, some people believe that technology will solve the problem , and that if we are, I don't know, building the right technical systems, we can solve any problems, including death, And so we are entering a field, a space that is really a belief system, close to religious belief, and even sometimes it becomes a cult, it becomes indoctrination, and, it can go very far, and that is the idea of Homo Deus. So, the idea that, thanks to Homo Deus, technical power, we can do anything, including killing death, you know.

[00:21:44] Gaël: which has been structuring our society since we exist on Earth, and things are finite.

[00:21:52] Maxime: Not since we exist. I mean, in the last 12, 000 years, I mean, I can go back to that subject, but there are different periods in our human evolution, as I see it. So, three or four periods and in the last 12, 000 years, yes, we have been developing the Homo Deus point of view. That is to say, thanks to technical systems, agriculture, cities, transportation, and now digital media and digital infrastructure, the ability to do anything, anything in an unlimited world.

[00:22:27] Gaël: And what was his belief system before?

[00:22:31] Maxime: Oh, okay, so before the Neolithic, so that happened 12, 000 years ago, we were hunter- gatherers, you know, living in a world that would provide meat and fruits. And, it's in, I don't know, between 40 and 60, 000 years, two or three ice ages, we were living that way. And before, we were living in a world with no complex language. So, we were really integrated as a human population into the animal sphere. Then we developed language, complex language, and that's the moment when Homo sapiens conquered the old planet. So, it's funny to understand that we developed complex language at the same moment, we conquered the world - Homo sapiens went out of Africa and conquered all continents, probably because we developed a certain way of communicating and it changed radically the way we saw the world. We became the main predator on Earth in the last 50, 000 years.

[00:23:44] Gaël: But is it related to this view on the fact that sapiens managed to kill actually also humans on planet earth as well, because they created complex belief system s that basically made them able to stick at one, two, or three or four hundred people in the same room, whether apps or even the industrial we will never be able to do so and that collectively we were stronger , because we were believing in things, that the ability to believe in things were our superpower.

[00:24:18] Maxime: Definitely, …called it the cognitive revolution, this moment when we invented the complex language, and that's why he said what makes us special as a sapiens is the our ability to tell stories -that's his point of view - and he studied the way as an historian, he studied the way, stories built social, but also technical, and in the end, biological structure that let us conquer the world in the last, 50, 000 years.

According to me, there are three main periods. First, the deep Paleolithic, when we were really integrated into nature. Then we developed complex language and we became the first predator on earth, conquering the whole planet. And then you have the Neolithic revolution where humans are taking everything the world has to give, we became a producer. We became able to use technical systems like agriculture, cities, et cetera, to produce what we need out of the world. So suddenly the world became like a huge mine, we can mine to gather, accumulate wealth and everything we desire. And actually, what I'm saying is that we are still in the Neolithic period, and we have to reach a new age ...

[00:25:41] Gaël: With new tools. You mean we are still in the nihilistic period, but with tools that are more and more powerful.

[00:25:49] Maxime: Yeah, exactly. That's what I'm saying. First, we developed agricultural basic rudimentary tools 12, 000 years ago. Then we developed cities, bridges, and military tools. And then at the Renaissance, thanks to the science revolution, we enter the period we call humanism, but humanism is exactly the same process that started at the Neolithic. That Is to say that the idea is one of human emancipation from the natural constraint in a way, except we have more and more technical power, more and more means. And we are still in that idea that we are exploiting, representing a word, land, space, and time that we can exploit, that we can Dig in a way things from it. And we perceive the world as unlimited and that is the Neolithic mindset, according to me. And we are still in it, and we need to move forward to a next stage post Neolithic. That is not to say we should unplug all technology and, no, it's more that we should think about the use of technical systems that is very different because we have a new representation of space and time of land and territory, and that would let us enter a new belief system that is more directed to care maintenance and balance in our relationship with the world,

[00:27:25] Gaël: But that's very interesting, because the latest super powerful tool that we've developed is obviously digital technologies and the representation we have for our digital world is infinite and endless. So how would we be able to move towards what is a post Neolithic vision, whilst at the same time we are double betting on the very latest technology, which is digital technology, that maps the world as something potentially infinite? We have disconnected the materiality of our surroundings with something that is now purely virtual. I know that it's not truly virtual because it's grounded in materiality, via the resources it needs to get powered and built. But the way we represent our digital world is infinite. So, don't you see a discrepancy here?

[00:28:22] Maxime: Well, that's where it becomes mystical. It's our relationship to infinity. In mathematics there is a character that is called Aleph that is the first letter in Hebrew, but also in Arabic - Alif. And it's very close to the Alpha Greek Alpha. And actually, that's the first letter of the first alphabet that was invented by Phoenicians 3000 years ago, on the shores of Lebanon. And that letter, in mathematics, represents infinity within infinity. So that is to say, we are representing the world right now with 1, 2, 3, 4, infinity.

But if you just take 1 to 2, there is infinity within between 1 and 2. And there is no contradiction according to me, in using digital technology to perceive and represent infinity. But, We have to use it, and to see it, and to represent it within constraints - the one and the two. If we are seeing it and using it in the one, two, three, infinity, then we're going to have problems because the material world is limited.

But if we use digital technology as a way to touch infinity, but within one and two, then it works. And that is called Aleph in mathematics, the end, the amount of numbers that are infinite within two, nombre entier, (whole numbers) so in English that would be, I don't know, numbers, like one and two, three, four, but the in-between, that's interesting because that's poetry. What is poetry more than just making beautiful things with strict constraints, with limits, and limits can help you make beautiful things, and infinite creativity. So, there is a paradox, but a paradox that is perfectly clear to me, and that we can use to build a world that we want to live in that's mystical I told you.

[00:30:41] Gaël: That's very interesting - this is the way you would re-incorporate the matter reality and the resource shortage that we are already facing, and that we will face more and more in the future, versus the over -expanding immateriality of our digital world.

[00:31:00] Maxime: Yeah, that's a little bit the same idea. You know, last night I was invited to talk about growth, post growth economics. Can we move forward from that idea of growth? And is it possible? And what is growth? Well, the way I answer it is to use a very simple analogy: human body growth. I mean, from a certain point, we don't want to grow more. You know, it's not good to grow more, but we are still growing in different ways.

I mean, when you reach 20. Years old, you do not grow physically with your body anymore, but you grow in your mind, you grow in your relationship in, in the way you are, I don't know, you are trying to reach wisdom or caring for people around you. So that's a type of growth. That's another way of growing.

And that's that idea of, you know, reaching creativity and infinity within new constraints that are not a bad thing at all. I mean, it's actually a good thing that we do not keep growing infinitely, you know, as a body, and that's a little bit of the same. And that's, according to me, a nice way to say that we have to be aware of the moments when physically we should not grow anymore. And that we should turn our growth into something else that has more value.

[00:32:33] Gaël: Do you believe that we'll be able to spot the moment we need to stop growing?

[00:32:39] Maxime: I believe that we are right now reaching the tipping point in terms of awareness of the limits of our wealth. And that's a very, very good thing. That's why I think we are living an extraordinary and fascinating and exciting period that is a cosmological revolution comparable to the main one that occurred in human history, that is to say the Neolithic revolution or the language revolution. And what is it exactly? This cosmological revolution? Well, precisely what we're saying before, that it's the awareness of being in a limited physical body: planet Earth. And that's beautiful because it would let us build develop creativity in a different way

[00:33:30] Gaël: That's very very, very interesting but I’ve got this same feeling. We talked a lot about digital technology and the way it shapes all representations. I remember that in one of your conferences you made an example of how the Innuits would represent the world - how it was different between summertime and winter-time. I think it was a good illustration that the way we represent the world dramatically shape - like in summertime it's almost a free lunch and you can travel for how long and, pretty much whatever you want - and in winter time you're under very strict social rules and your surrounding is reduced to a few kilometers. Am I quoting you or explaining your thoughts well here or ...?

[00:34:15] Maxime: Yeah, well, that's how anthropology studied the Inuit population in the great North, in Northern Canada. Indeed, that's a population that is nomadic in summer. So really, you know, traveling all the time and sedentary in winter. So, that's probably why I mentioned those observations, but everybody, actually, we have our own belief systems, our own representation of the world. I mean, French people have their own conception, philosophy of space and time, and especially when it's related to the land. American people have their own representation and conception and philosophy of the land. And in America you have the East Coast, the West Coast, the middle, the Midwest, and they don't have [the same representation]. Our representation of the world is very cultural, but it's also very technical, because what I'm interested in is how technical systems create culture because in anthropology, we know that every technical system changed our perception of space and time from the fire, to chat GPT, and, it creates a new social and cultural order. The question is, do we take that into account first? I mean, in our liberal democratic society, we don't really (take it into account). In authoritarian countries, like China or Russia, they do, they really want to use technical systems in order to produce control and social order, because they know it works that way.

So the question is, how do we direct, govern the effect of this huge, massive technical infrastructure that has an effect on culture, that has an effect on our belief system, and our minds in a way that is compatible with our values, with our education, culture, political, convictions. And that's a very, very concrete problem that is related to the cosmological revolution we are talking about.

And, what I want to add, in this conversation is: how do we perceive the world? Well, according to me, there are three main ways of perceiving the world. First is information. We get information from the world and technical systems, digital systems, science, help us to collect knowledge about the world. And that's the first way, we comprehend what's around us.

The second one would be more the stories we tell. So, belief systems based on stories, On, more the power of creativity in terms of what we share in terms of stories and it's related to communication. And when you are a company or when you are in government, you tell stories a lot internally and externally. And that creates a certain way of comprehending the word that surrounds us.

And thirdly, you have the direct experience of the world senses, ‘sensoriality’. The hot, the cold, the light, the dark, and we are living in a world - because of the technical structure that surrounds us, a digital technology - that is preventing us more and more from feeling the world. So, the way we feel the world with our bodies. Has an effect on the way we are building the word with our mind. So, there is a connection between our direct experience of the world physically and the stories we tell and the information we collect. And all that is the way we represent, [the way]we picture the world.

And, right now we have to be very careful on the direction we are collectively choosing in terms of cosmography, that is to say, in terms of representation of what the world is, and what we want to do in it, and to it. And, what is our mission and purpose and role and place as human beings on the planet.

[00:38:53] Gaël: I used to see attention as a moral question, like you don't have the right to steal attention from people, and you're the first one who kind of, shifted my perspective like no, this is a resource it's like water ,you know clean water ,air etc., they are actually the main resources that helped sapiens () we discussed earlier), to become the dominant species on earth, it's our capacity to focus, to create stories, and that is powered by attention, and that attention is a resource that should be carefully curated rather than just something on the moral stance ...

[00:39:31] Maxime: And my message, if I want to make my message in one sentence, it would be: our attention resources are limited, and we have to direct them as much as possible towards the world itself. So, we have to comprehend, we have to focus on the world, which is quite complicated to focus on everything. But compared to just looking at ourselves and, you know, being disconnected from the world by creating digital connections that are not sustainable, because they are not connected to material reality, we have to focus, on the contrary, on what is material reality, and what is material reality is life itself. Animals, vegetables, the water, resources, the air, the ocean, the world itself. And, I'm not saying that we should only think about ecology, natural ecosystems, but it's our interest as humans to heal our relationship with the world.

[00:40:47] Gaël:

That's kind of a positive message, and I'm going to jump to make an easy transition for an easy conclusion, which is if you had to pick one piece of good news, which made you optimistic recently, about this ability as you described, to connect a bit more with the world, pay attention to the world and make it a more sustainable place to live, what would be the news that you would choose?

[00:41:19] Maxime: I think I would choose the trend that we are observing in terms of accountancy, which is a very specific and technical subject, but it's very related to everything we've said. Accountancy is a very, - I don't know, some find it boring, but actually it's crucial in the way we interact with the world, because it's the way we, I don't know, pay attention to anything by integrating numbers, quantities into actions and decisions.

And right now, we're observing on the planetary level and especially on a European level because it started in Europe, but it's a global conversation right now. A reflection on how we could count things and how we could be accountable for things, and accountancy is a way to measure the activity of a business, but it's also a way, or it could be a way, and it will be a way of measuring impact, and also measuring risks.

And right now, if we want to assess risks and measure impact properly, we have to focus on the world itself and what we are doing to the world. So according to me, the first steps we are observing right now, we are taking right now in terms of accountancy, could be in the next year's, a door to a change in perception.

And I'm really optimistic in relation to that particular field. And for me, that's really a good [piece of] news and a good trend. And, we'll see what's happening in the next days and weeks, because there is an accountancy war right now. And I really consider it's a critical decision we are going to make in the next few days and months.

[00:43:25] Gaël: Yeah. Double materiality or not.

[00:43:27] Maxime: Exactly.

[00:43:30] Gaël: When you start saying, 'by the way, I'm going to talk about the content and that's a very positive friend', I suddenly feel way less lonely. So thanks a lot for that Maxime,

[00:43:40] Maxime: You are welcome.

[00:43:42] Gaël: And thanks a lot for joining the podcast. That was great. I know that you've got a crazy agenda. I hope that you will not get kicked out of your hotel room, and that your conference tonight will be awesome. I strongly suggest every French speaker, even if he's not, or she's not, a native one, to follow you on LinkedIn, because your posts are beautiful, and they're always kind of, you know, mind blowing or opening the chakra, as I like to say.

And I think that for our non-French native speakers, you've got an announcement to make

[00:44:18] Maxime: Yeah, well, it's a very simple announcement. It's just that I've decided to translate all my posts, LinkedIn posts in English, because I received many requests from, yes, from people not speaking French. And so I decided that next January, I would translate everything and post everything every day in English. So if you are an English speaker, please feel welcome to read them and see what I'm sharing every day.

[00:44:46] Gaël: So, from 100,000 followers on LinkedIn to 1 million in 2024, yeah, you could do it! Thanks a lot, Maxime, for joining the podcast.

[00:44:59] Maxime: Thank you very much.

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