I picture my dad, in the late seventies, completely amazed by Star Wars, about to transition into young adulthood, fantasizing about Carrie Fisher, admiring the rebellious style Harrison Ford portrayed so perfectly, as he, my dad, also started transitioning out of a premature adolescence.
There’s no doubt that the SciFi community has existed long before most of us were even concieved, but what no one could have imagined was how near the future really was.
Guess what? Robots are here, passenger drones are not a Jetsons fantasy, and, rapidly, we move out of a Flintstones Stone Age via search engines and the smart phone. Sure, there’s the time old debate: how far should we let technology go? If you ask me, it’s a stupid question. If we had stopped the first man who made fire, we might all be sick, dead, or just really, really lucky. “Technology is dangerous; it can be used to create weapons,” small minded people will clearly argue. To this I say: Yeah, but they same could have been said for fire.
I took a two day course, intense, nail biting, exciting, on Exponential Finance. Trust me, Bitcoin and online banking do not wet my panties, and you probably won’t ever see Spock using an elaborated version of them on old reruns, but, nevertheless, I’m completely amazed, nervous, and worried.
The greatest invention ever, the Internet, has radically changed the information that’s now readily available to us: we should use Trump’s wall materials to build a statue representing Larry Page, instead. Mimicking Bane’s speech, we were born into and molded by social media, Wikipedia, and Google, but we rarely grasp just how incredible it actually is: I’m in New York right now, and my friend that’s in China can instantly respond to any query I might have. The invention of the fax blew my parents away, but that was one of the smallest steps technology quickly took. If everyone had access to the Internet, Wikipedia and Khan Academy will become the most collaborative teachers, making the world a more literate place. Anti-technology ignorants will argue that we are living the downfall of knowledge: chill, we’re not; quite the contrary: It’s a way to exponentially transmit knowledge to anyone almost anywhere.
What’s behind the idea “Exponential” is that human discoveries and creations are growing at an exponential rate, as a opposed to a linear one. If you had approached your parents in their twenties (so probably around the 1980s) and told them that in twenty five years they would be able to have practically any piece of information they wanted in a few seconds, they probably would have sent you to rehab for smoking “too much dope”. If you had told them ten years ago that solar power would be Portugal’s entire energy source for four days, they would have laughed in your face and continued watching Al Gore’s tireless rant. As I tell you guys, teenagers in your twenties, that passenger drones (fancy name for flying cars) and service robots (like Rosie from the Jetsons) are going to become the norm by the time we have kids, you’ll probably slap me silly and make me watch some devastatingly depressing documentary on world hunger. Here’s the thing, these products already exist, though they aren’t affordable yet, but neither were solar panels ten years ago.
These courses (Exponential Finance, Medicine, etc.), offered by Singularity University, teach us two important lessons: 1) everything is indeed going to be alright; and 2) what happened to Kodak can happen to any of us. Sure, it’s sad that older generations will be replaced by newer, more tech-savvy models, but try hiring a secretary that doesn’t know how to use Word or Outlook.
My dad, fifty-five and in all his glory, uses a smart phone better than any toddler (which, let’s be honest, is probably a lot more than most of us can say). He is living proof that updates aren’t only for apps, but they’re also for humans. Our generation’s task is not to mooch off of the baby boomers, but to create new software that will blow their minds. The 20th century was like the television show, 24, but the 21st century is Game of Thrones: Anything and everything will happen.
What our generation should be focusing on is not the mind-numbing, repetitive tasks that were probably necessary in 2007, but we should redirect our energy to prepare for future. These “old” Fortune 500 companies, the seniors in the mix, will become extinct if they don’t “update their software”. I’m not going to argue that the feel of a new paperback isn’t wonderful, but iPads are a lot more efficient.
Innovation has already become norm. Yes, newer isn’t always better, but “newer” is better than “outdated”.
Let’s just hope that the functions of our talents don’t become extinct before we hit our thirties.