Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Bandwidth That Powers Mandkind

I heard an interesting quote on the radio recently. I'd love to know who the author of the quote is, so if you know, get in touch. The man said, "As we expand bandwidth between each other, we dissolve our differences."

What he meant by "bandwidth" is up for interpretation, but I think he meant a combination of a few things. If he simply meant "communication" or "empathy" he would have said as much. He chose the bandwidth analogy because bandwidth is dependent on a few factors in order for it to be dispersed at a high rate. A few of the key factors are as follows:

1. High-technology, which is a product of generations of teaching, learning, and application of knowledge.

2. A peaceful environment. In order for education and its application to go on unfettered, there need be a scarcity of conflict and danger.

3. Freedom to experiment. Culture needs to be elastic enough to allow innovative thinkers and risk-takers.

Therefore, the right environment, education, and infrastructure need to be in place in order for humans to expand the bandwidth between each other, dissolve our differences, and march forward in our social evolution. Technologies like the Occulus Rift or the Kinect (the internet 2.0 as people have been calling them) are
a good start. Empathy-building tools in the form of Big Education platforms like Khan Academy or TED are also steps in the right direction.

But something is missing. The next step remains to be seen.

What do you see in our future? The "re-wilding" of our species, an "archaic revival" of sorts, is a piece that I see fitting into the puzzle somewhere. A human is changed when she walks in the woods. She recalls bits of her essence, her true self, when she connects with nature. If, on some esoteric level, artificiality is embodied with an intelligence, then it would serve that entity well to reduce us organic entities down to mere slaves of the inorganic, to men and women locked into screens all day, to children in the same room as their parents, but also light years away, lost in a game or a video or the next best App.

This has all been said before, but we need to be more self-critical with our use of technology. We need to use our gadgets as human enhancers: for learning, for storytelling, for empathy, for self-realization.

Reflection is lost in the developed world, for it is moving too fast to stop and look back, and it is too judgmental to allow us to pause and be here, now.

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