Education, individual continuous improvement and leaving the comfort zone to address the adaptation to the change of a technological world.
Article originally published in the Diari de Terrassa.
Given how the world is evolving, allow me to share one of my biggest current concerns: to understand the relationship between the exponential technology that makes us advance rapidly as a human race and the parallel growing need to permanently update our knowledge and personal competences to adapt to this new situation.
The turn of the key is education and the continuous individual improvement I mentioned earlier. It is the individual’s own attitude that provides the solution to adapt agilely and quickly to everything that is happening around him, thus ensuring his continued personal and professional value in the society to which he belongs.
For this reason it is absolutely necessary to synchronise the educational efforts of any relevant public institution in the economic and business world (Governments, City Councils, Universities, Schools and Chambers of Commerce, among others) with the aim of encouraging curiosity, eliminating aversion to change and rewarding innovative initiatives that allow us to advance as a species.
Maintaining the status quo and placing societies in a comfort zone worked in a bygone era of sustained progress and progressive change, but in the current era of exponential change and technology beyond the imagination of most mortals, we need to take a step forward and take risks. The old adage ‘if it isn’t broken don’t mend it’ is no longer valid.
Just last week, the billionaire Elon Musk, founder and owner of Tesla, presented his new project Neuralink, which consists of connecting the human brain to a computer, thus allowing some internal areas of our brain to communicate directly with the outside.
Like any technological change, this could have positive points, such as helping people who have lost their hearing, speech or mobility to recover them artificially, but it could also have its negative side. Imagine the potential controls, regulations and alerts that would have to be put in place to prevent people from being able to control others through these systems. It is a clear approach to famous science fiction movies such as The Matrix.
And so I come back to the level of each individual’s education: what protects us most are our educational assets and our own ability to interpret and decide about these issues. If others can decide for us, we take more risks.
It seems clear to me, therefore, that the optimal management of this potential direct connection between the human brain and computers will be one of the great challenges for mankind in the coming decades, with all the ethical, legal, political and social challenges that this implies.
Let me end today’s reflection with a famous quote from the business guru Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, with a reference on the subject of change and the continuous need to know how to adapt to it: “If the rate of change outside is greater than inside, then the end is near”. If in doubt, think of companies such as Kodak, Nokia, Daewoo or Sega, which are no longer around because they were unable to adapt to technological and innovative changes. Let us prevent the same thing from happening to us as individuals, as a society and as a planet.
In short, it is a question of not being afraid of technological advances but of proactively managing them from an initial curiosity, a subsequent analysis of their pros and cons and a synchronised implementation effort that will lead us all to improve as a global society. Education and talent development will always be our key to success.