Wednesday, June 1st, 2011
Heard a fascinating speech by Mr. Brody of the Clarity Digital Group, in which he somewhat stunned an audience of 300 at the Lethbridge Economic Development ‘trends’ luncheon – when he wasn’t making us laugh.
His point, reiterated in several fascinating ways, is that we are A: in the MIDST OF the greatest turning point in human history, and B: We are physically, mentally, socially DIFFERENT HUMAN BEINGS today than ever before in the long saga of humanity. Different than we were even in 1990, before ‘the net’ took over.
And these are not theoretical differences we’re talking about – these are actual changes to our neural networks, changes in our behaviour as a species, and changes to our environment, unlike anything seen in the past. Now, obviously, if you know me then you know that I am in agreement with this premise. But Leonard had a few points that are truly fascinating, and which I have heard nowhere else before. One was about how we trust online, in the digital world:
‘We are like children. maybe adolescents, if you’ve been at it since ’93, when the real web took off.’ (Oh, goody, I’m an adolescent! My roommate at the time won a ‘Best of the Web’ award…in 1993! ) His point being that we trust like children online. Which means we have low tolerance for interference or manipulation (Amen!), and also that if you screw with our trust, we will NEVER forgive you! Ever.
You will be shut out, and being shut out of my web of connections, and the web of people who trust me, is going to have real economic, social, and even romantic consequences for you. Research, he says, shows that those with the biggest social networks also have higher incomes, better lives, and are even more likely to have a life partner!
For me, tho, the most fascinating image was the slide of brain activity among the young versus us older folks. When bombarded with stimulus, today’s young brain lights up like a Christmas tree versus the old brain. I know that my brain has changed in the years I’ve been ‘plugged in’ full time. Which means, theoretically, that we, as a species, are getting smarter.
And just in time, one might say.