Sunday, August 16, 2015

From hybrid thinking to the upbringing of our children

For the purpose of this blog-post I yesterday re-watched the movie Limitless (apparently there will also be a TV series adaption of it). I like the movie for the question that it is letting me ask myself. What would I do if I would have an enhanced mind?

Probably the most honest answer would be that I actually do not know, because I cannot look behind the limitations of my own mind and therefore I cannot anticipate what I would do when I have an enhanced mind. That being sad, I think I would be information hungry to the core of my being. I would learn languages and my decision making would be even more based on patterns I can see clearly then. Much like the main character in the movie does. But I also would like to connect to people around me even more than I do now.

From Limitless Thinking to Hybrid Thinking

The movie is based on the assumption that a human brain is only used for about 20% of its capacity and with the help of a new drug the rest of its capacity is activated. Much the same as the movie Lucy. The fact that we only use 10 or 20 percent of our brain is most likely not true according to Robynne Boyd in an article on Scientific American. So if biologically nothing can be done, how about technologically? This is where Ray Kurzweil comes in.

In a recent article by Anthony Cuthbertson of the International Business Times Ray Kurzweil states that we will connect our brains to the Cloud by 2030. Wow, that is like... 15 years from now! Even if he is 10 years of with his prediction, 25 years is no large number either. And if we are able to connect our brain, our minds, to the Internet than the possibilities will become endless and beyond everything we can imagine today.

Imagine that we can lookup information instantly whenever needed and where ever we are with just a thought. We probably can even outsource parts our thinking to services hosted in the Cloud. We can, much like Google Goggles, look at a Sudoku puzzle and instantly see its solution. We can make 'phone-calls' with each-other by thought, truly share emotions and even use (with consent of course) each-others senses. We can walk in a different country and see everything we see and hear translated at once. The Tower of Babel is not actually a physical tower; it will be the Internet with all our minds connected to it.

Well, back to Earth now with both of our feet. It will take a couple of years before we reach such technology. Although some people try to argue against it due to ethical reasons (which has valid points I think), I believe the development will be so fast and disrupting that mankind will embrace it anyway. But that is beyond the scope of this blog-post though.

What is being smart now and in the future?

In a world where information is just a thought away, what does it mean to be smart? How differently we will look at it compared to now? We can assume that every person will have its biological boundaries such as your IQ, but being smart in the future is not about knowing allot. Well, knowing allot as in stored in your brain anyway. Because when you connect your brain to the Cloud you actually know allot, it is just not stored in your brain.

According to Academic Earth this process is already going on due to the existence of the Internet and the possibilities we have to connect to it. Our brain is trained by the things we do. And if we search allot and do not 'care' to remember, we train our brain to search and not to remember. And if we are able to store everything in the Cloud we can connect our mind to, we become masters of search in a world full of information. How often do you check Wikipedia for some facts about a holiday you have planned? How much do you remember after checking it? Or do you even care to remember, because you can look it upon for a second, third and fourth time anyway?

The following principle is widely known. There is data, and from data information will be made. Information can be interpreted and thus knowledge is created. And knowledge can lead to wisdom. I tend to say that we now live in a world that being smart is about having allot of knowledge. In the age of hybrid thinking being smart is all about being wise. And the wiser you will be, the more successful and renowned you will be.

Preparing our children

But how can you become a wise person? To answer this question, we need to look at the fundamental flaw of our education system we known today. The current educational system is focused on gaining information and hopefully knowledge, rather than gaining wisdom. There is a nice YouTube video by RSA Animate about Changing the Education Paradigms.

In this video Sir Ken Robinson talks about the need to change the paradigms of our education systems. It is a good and very relevant watch and my opinion is that new paradigms are needed to prepare our children for a future in which all knowledge can be found online. The new paradigm should be about the individual and his or her development, skills, talents and all things that makes him or her happy. We should train and educate our children to search for information and how to use the information that is found. We should focus on ethics, morality and social skills. When we inspire our kids to grow and learn, they will find their passions on their own.

The result might be a future with humans that are more aware of their society and their place in it, behave more ethically and spiritually, and advance even more then their ancestors when all that is combined with endless knowledge at the tip of their thoughts.

I firmly believe that it is our responsibility to prepare our children for such a future.

What is your take on this? Feel free to comment below and thanks for your time for reading my post.