What is it to Be Human in the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
Hi Parents,How many among you have followed the 2017 World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland? Many leaders in industries, politics, arts and media go there to have private and open meetings and discuss what they think the world should be.One open conference had a very interesting title: What is it to Be Human in the Fourth Industrial Revolution?Five panelists were invited to this conference. They represented government, culture, religion, social networking and the game industry. You will find below what I found the most interesting and what could spark some reflections and questions in your mind.Buckle your seat belt!Melanie JolyMinister for Canadian Heritage, Department of Canadian Heritage of CanadaArt and culture have an important economic potential.[Canada sees] the 4th industrial revolution as a creative revolution and nothing is more human than creativity.Investing in Art and Culture will lead to innovation and that will lead to economic growth, which is inclusive growth.My Takeaway for mums and dads: I think that the human mind is great at creating content and innovative ways to deliver it. Daily content like basic facts or economic and financial information are already available and will be more and more processed by AI, delivered directly to us on our smartphones. But the human imagination and creativity, if nurtured and developed, will be a key factor to differentiate us from AI. Nicole SchwabCo-Founder and President, EDGE Certified FoundationWe need to be able to connect with one another. To connect deeply in a very human way.There is a deep need for human connection. Human connection gives us joy and happiness.Many old people regret one thing: They wish they had spent more time with the people they love.Deep connection is a key of our well being and happiness, the key to the challenges that we are facing.But this connection doesn’t just happen.Empathy and compassion [are key players here.]The problem is we have never been so distracted than now.We spend less and less time reflecting. We spend less and less time in a state when we are not on our apps, when we are not distracting our mind.We have all experienced a moment when we are talking to somebody who is physically in front of you but you know his mind is running about the tasks he has to do today or whatever. But you could feel the difference with the same person physically in front of you but his mind is fully present. If someone is fully present you can feel it.We need to intentionally make more time to practice being fully present and engage in processes that will help us develop empathy and compassion.My Takeaway for mums and dads:When we are with our kids, we have to be with them fully. We need to stop our minds from wandering, thinking about something else than what is related to the moment we are having with them. And, please, no more iPhone between our children and us (either way, no more “nanny smartphones” and no more mum or dad using their mobile instead of being really present when it is children time). Attention span is shrinking among kids AND adults. ADD and ADHD (both behavioral problems) are rising faster than the power of your computer. We give ourselves less time to think, to reflect. We are becoming a reaction machine. And a reaction machine is obviously very seldom a proactive machine. If we have less reflection moments, we have less great and pure creation moments. As a parent, we need to show our kids and teach them what proactivity is. It is crucial for our little ones to get a grip on the life they will have. Otherwise, they will get a really sad life.“We are responsible, as humans, as citizens, of what we use and how we use it” applies to digital tools and digital content. Ahmad IravaniPresident and Executive Director, Center for the Study of Islam and the Middle East (CSIME)Being human and living in a digital age is an issue.If we can use digital medias and digital tools towards to help others, toward education, then that is something highly recommended.My Takeaway for mums and dads:Computers, tablets and smartphones are great tools for us (parents) and for our children but we have to use them in a smarter way.It’s a SMART-phone, not a DUMB-phone! But so many people seem to forget it. Allen BlueCo-Founder and Vice-President, Products, LinkedIn CorporationEvery year, we look at the most important skills that people are hiring in the world. And for the last few years, every one of the top ten skills has been a technology skill. So, for 2016, the top skill has been Data scientist.The main reason I am here at the Forum is to talk to different companies and governments about how we help people make a transition from a world that is focused on a diverse collection of skills to a world that is just focused primarily on technologically enabled skills. Because that transition is an important one for us to remain employed, to remain part of the economy and to remain part of our communities.It turns out that the most important single factor in terms of being able to get that job, once you have the skills for it, is the people who are right around you: Your network, your connections, your guanxi.In LinkedIn we have made it very easy to surround yourself with only people who share your own perspective. And that’s true in general about Facebook, about Twitter, about all the forms of media that we consume online. So, a big challenge for us going forward is how do we find that connection with each other again to allow having the kind of diverse and productive conversation in an environment where it is very easy to only be surrounded by people who agree with you.My Takeaway for mums and dads:Unless you go back living in the nature like our ancestors, being tech-savvy is not anymore nice-to-have; it is a MUST-have! Other knowledge is great too but you have to mix at least basic technology knowledge with them.Our human brain doesn’t like divergence at all. It sometimes spikes our cortisol (stress hormone) level. That’s why we prefer to spend time with people who think, talk and even dress like us. But we need to be confronted to other ways of thinking. That’s where great progress is often made. To be challenged is often a great way to grow as a human being. Tracy FullertonGame Designer and Professor, University of Southern California School of Cinematic ArtsGames have helped humans define rules since the beginning of the humanity. It has huge implications in the building of society, of government, and in many ways of interacting with each other.Now, with technology that allows us to play with one another through the Internet, through digital media, we can say that it’s not you and I that are deciding to flip the coin. Now the computer is going to decide what gets flipped and what gets decided. And we are going to submit ourselves to that computer.And, I guess for me, the question of the day is: How does that change us as humans when some of the most deeply practiced human activity such as play become adjudicated by AI or by digital media and technologies and social networks? How do we move forward when we are no longer the ones making those rules or adjudicating those rules?I don’t feel that I design technology; I feel that I design opportunities for humans to grow.My takeaway for mums and dads:Using more and more technology, day after day, is nice. It often simplifies our life and makes it possible to do more in less time or to have fun in a new way. But we need to keep in mind that question:”Is what I am currently doing with tech stuff empowering me or disempowering me? Am I giving away one more piece of what is making me a human?” To close this unusual post, I would like to tell you, mums and dads, that you have a new responsibility now. And it will take more and more time of your life and the life of your loved ones:To help your kids and you, enjoy technology in a fulfilling and happy way, but stay in control of their lives and don’t let the technology control what they think and do.Never forget that, at least until now, young people using social networks are much more depressed than the ones who don’t. That’s our duty, parents, to make sure it will not happen with our progeny.