Older maybe, but certainly not outdated
We are in the middle of a revolution. Mobile phones, computers and iPods have long become a commonplace around the globe, impacting how we perceive our world and changing ways we interact.
Smart machines are starting to compete with smart people for work even in cases for relationships. We are seeing the emergence of a world in which knowledge management is being automated and people will have to become more conceptual and creative thinkers. Hence, the ability to think and act in ways that machines cannot may be the only way to be employed over the long run. Ideas are the new currency in this business world; curiosity and imagination will be the key competencies to feed this currency. Considering this, one may ask what is going to happen to the depth of our thinking and reflections in a world where we never sit still or switch off completely (here I mean not just our smart phones)? What are unforeseeable consequences of this digital information tsunami on the 100 billion cells and quadrillion connections inside our brains?
To find potential answers for this I want to go back to a book which one may consider out of date as it has been published 8 years ago. Yet, I find it remarkably to the point in its messages.
“Future Minds”, written by Richard Watson, describes how to make the best out of the potential digital technology holds and how to reduce its dark sides, reframing future thinking and address how we can unleash the outstanding potential of our human mind. With chapter titles like “The Rise of the Screenager”, “Pre-Teens: An Apple for Every Teacher”, “Thinking about Thinking”, and the not least intriguing one “The Sex Life of Ideas” and his way of writing makes this an absorbing book which for me has not come to ages.
The key messages for me in this book are:
• Computer-Technology is changing how we concentrate; it is disrupting deep thoughts and focus.
• Today’s teaching restricts imagination and “free play.” Youngsters have become less original but more self-conscious.
• Trends in information technology change law enforcement and could use artificial intelligence in a way that outstrips humanity.
• To think more clearly, gain control of your time and space. Do not let the cyberworld invade every corner of your life.
Why one should read this book
This book is a great source to enhance or refresh our consciousness about the impact rapidly changing technology can have on each of us as an individual and our society at large. It can help to make conscious decisions on how to engage with and use technology.
We explore this and other business relevant subjects in our Virtual Leaders Lounge. This is an informal online meeting of maximum 10 business leaders where we discuss challenges in virtual teams and organisations and share best practices. No PowerPoint is used, no prep work required!