We live in a world of unprecedented connectivity. Each and every day we are more connected as a species. It has been taken for granted so quickly, our ability to connect, communicate and share our thoughts, feelings and moments with anyone across the world. 30 years ago this was not possible.
To connect with people used to take a lot of time. From letters, telegram, fax, and telephone, we’ve progressed a long way. To connect with people now we have amazing technology like email, messaging, video calling and soon virtual environments. Once where we were tied to our desktops for all this, those boundaries have been removed with the acceptance of mobile.
The cost of communication has been reduced drastically in the last decade. We are able to not only talk but share pictures and videos and moreover, we are already able to share these precious moments in real time. 30 years ago this was not possible.
The cost of communication with anyone, until very recently, used to be directly proportional to the distance between the people. The cost of communication now is almost nothing, with all of us being able to share almost anything, with anyone, anywhere in the world, instantaneously, at almost no cost attached.
Information access has become extremely efficient, requiring only a fraction of the time that it used to. We are able to look up random facts from accredited sources in microseconds. As Internet speeds improve this will only become faster. 30 years ago this was not possible.
To look up information, you had to physically find the document necessary and read through the information available to find what you were looking for. There were no digital records and definitely no Ctrl+F available for efficient access.
The time taken was immense, hence we put huge emphasis on the individual capacity of information retention as our guide to intelligence. This barrier also has been removed.
As a species we have accomplished some astounding feats in our history, but what is more astounding is that after completing these feats, over time we forgot how we did these amazing things. Some examples of this are the pyramids of Egypt, the drainage systems of the Roman empire, and the recently discovered irrigation systems of Angkor Vat. Our inability to document out accomplishments, and pass the knowledge on to future generations failed us in our ability to progress.
For the longest time, it was of the utmost importance that we are able to retain large amounts of information in our brains so that we could access it at a moment’s notice and make the most-informed decision most efficiently. This is what our educational institutions were geared towards teaching and for the longest time, this was what was important for informed decision making. In the course of the last 30 years that has changed considerably. None of this holds true anymore.
Advances in science and technology has made information available and accessible to everyone at almost no cost. We need to ask ourselves, what will define our intelligence as a species now?
Those of us, who have accepted that the definition of intelligence has changed look for different factors now, while looking for intelligent people. In my mind, it’s no longer apt to call people who remember directions to places important, because now we have maps on our phone to guide us. Those who are amazingly quick at mental mathematical calcuations, are they intelligent when they quickly calculate sums in their mind, or is it more efficient to do it on my calculator which I have on my smartphone/smart watch at all times?
Your ability to collate, analyse, and implement learnings from data presented to you, in context with human behaviour is what will define your intelligence in the future.
Technology has freed us from the mundane tasks of our daily lives and allowed us to concentrate on our passions.
The Monumental Momentum Of Millennials: Think-telligence
The upcoming generation, called the millennials, is often cursed by their predecessor, Gen X. Allegations have been cast that the newer generation is extremely selfish and lazy. They are arrogant, stubborn and unyielding and dismissive of all that’s come before them with maximum disrespect. They are entitled.
The basic truth about millennials is that we refuse to accept: “Because that’s the way it’s always been done,” as an acceptable answer to any question.
It’s important to understand that most of the millennial generation was born into quick-changing technology. We are able to adapt, accept, reject, reaccept new and old technologies if they add value to our lives. We are not bound by the static thinking and extreme comfort zones that have become commonplace for Gen X, but are always willing to try new and different ways to accomplish old and new tasks.
As the power struggle for the direction of the future begins between both these generations, the millennials look at the Gen X generation as the entitled ones as their claim that experience trumps new knowledge is a failing one. Many of the Gen X claim that they are unable to adapt to these new quick changing ways of communication and technology, but the real truth is that most technologies that have reached the consumer level, are geared so that a ten-year-old child, with 15 minutes of undivided attention can learn, and subconsciously apply after regular use.
So it is, Gen X that seems to be the lazy generation in this case, entitled by their ‘experience’ and ‘ways that things have always been done’.
Evolution demands that we should adapt quickly, and it’s time we evolved beyond what we once thought was the definition of intelligence. It’s time we became Intelligent Human Beings.
I invite you all to the future. Come join us. It’s awesome here!
[This post by Satyajit Roy first appeared on LinkedIn and has been reproduced with permission.]