our next evolution (part 1): voices from the ether

computerbrainWe are living in very interesting times, that are fraught with uncertainties and upheavals. Is the human psyche designed to handle the amount of change the world now undergoes with the mere passing of a handful of years?

I was born into a world you could view with contemporary eyes as ‘innocent’: this was a world without mobile phones and the very inception of the home pc. Today we comfortably talk to our phones and ask it where to go to get the best rhubarb sandwiches within walking distance and the phone politely draws you a map. 

StarTrekWallpaper51024THIS WAS THE STUFF OF SCIENCE FICTION in my formative years.

My next 3 entries will look at our technological advancements and the continued penetration of disruptive technologies, and ask the question: Is the assimilation of machines a part of our positive evolution?

This first post will look at the information age (the rise of connectivity). The second will look at the rise of the ‘SMART’ (the ubiquity of SMART technology). And the third will look at the future, the fork in the road that could lead to a more prosperous human revolution.

The topics I will be covering are massive and to say I will be covering them is an over-statement. There is so much material theorizing about theses subjects and a vast cornucopia of studies I wont be able to penetrate in a mere blog. What I will do is look at the importance of technology and it changing roles in humanity’s evolution.

Now, there have been a myriad of films, books and games that have dealt with our precarious relationship with technology, mostly ending in a heavy-metal showdown.

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hey I just met you, and this is crazy…

The mid 90s to the early 00s were defined by the global revolution of connectivity – it made information free. A tool which is not merely for the elite, it is for everyone. For the first time ever, the world had its first interactive, receptive, ever-learning, exponentially-omniscient system of communication, a true bastion of democracy.

It is connecting us all in ways never before imagined, creating markets and economies where previously not thought of.

The increasing ubiquity of its presence is beginning to change us in ways we did not expect. From social media to the societal make up we see around us. You see, it’s in your head, right now, this internet thing. Rewiring it, changing the way your eyes and ears interact with your brain, making you consume, store, process information differently.

In 2012 Bernard Keane wrote in his article ‘How the internet rewires the circuits of our public space — and you’ about how the internet is changing Australian society and its very cerebral make up. He says: “And if it’s not rewiring your head, it’s changing your society, changing your social relations, changing your job. It’s changing the economy, and changing politics, redistributing power.”

“That’s what media do and have always done — print, the telegraph, radio, TV: they rewire humans inside their heads and in how they relate to each other, except the internet is doing it on a far bigger scale and more quickly than any previous medium.”

Back in in the early 00s when the net was starting to really hit its stride, I remember coming across a set of ads that really asked the question if our dalliance with an all pervasive network of information was a good thing or a bad thing;

…the jury is still out.

“We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us.”  — Marshall McLuhan, 1964

According to Royal Pingdom in 2012;

  • 85,962 – Number of monthly posts by Facebook Pages in Brazil, making it the most active country on Facebook.
  • 1 billion – Number of monthly active users on Facebook, passed in October.
  • 47% – Percentage of Facebook users that are female.
  • 40.5 years – Average age of a Facebook user.
  • 2.7 billion – Number of likes on Facebook every day.
  • 24.3% – Share of the top 10,000 websites that have Facebook integration.
  • 200 million – Monthly active users on Twitter, passed in December.

We have become the creators of content. Media is no longer a one-way system. This is emphasised by the sharp decline in newspaper and libraries and the emergence of eCommerce has drastically shifted the landscape of retail purchase beyond recognition.

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What does this mean for the human evolution?

An immense political tool for change.

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A connected always on-line world. ensures that not only ideas are shared they are dissected, it ensures that they are challenged. It is a place for the human imagination to grow unfettered by the confines of society or religion, a place not governed by the constraints of morality or conservative ideals,  a place where all views are taken into account, even those which may be against popular liberal views.

Social media played a major role in the political upheaval of the Arab Spring in 2011. In doing this, technology and its embryonic union with the internet has shown  it has the power to tap into the ‘General Human Consciousness’ and generate change.

Screen-Shot-2013-02-21-at-10.04.40-AM The revolution may not be televised, but it will be face-booked, twittered, and tumblred.

So great is the impact of the internet on our lives, that the U.N has proposed the adoption of access to the web as a fundamental human right on par with access to food, water and life. “[It’s] an empowering thing for humanity to be connected at high speed and without borders,” says Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

The implications of the net on human evolution is still to be determined, as it is an ever evolving, continuously expanding phenomenon that will have even greater impacts on our development intellectually, physically and environmentally in years to come.

The assimilation of technology, not just as external devices (phones and tablets) but as part and parcel of the sacred person, is surely the next logical step in our evolution.

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Watch this space.

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You can’t take the sky from me

Image We live on a planet with finite resources; commodities such as oil and gas will not last forever. In realizing this the world’s largest energy conglomerates have been setting themselves up for the game of the next century; a defining break-through in end to end renewable energy. The race is on for the big investment opportunity of the next decade and this race is in the energy business. A prime candidates we have turned to is the Sun, a readily available, infinitely renewable nuclear reactor 95 million miles in space.

On the other side of this is the consumer’s stake in the access, viability and cost of renewable energy. As fossil fuels become scarcer the price for energy increases a lot of which will be coming from nature for the very first time.

As far back as 10,000 BC, history is abundant with carvings and writing depicting people’s respect and adoration for this object and it is easy to understand why. As the Sun would rise it brought vision, warmth, light, and security saving man from the cold, blind predator-filled darkness of the night.

These realities assured that for countless civilizations the Sun would become the most adored object in all of history from Babylonian to ancient Egyptian to Greek mythography, history has worshipped the Sun as a deity.

Because of the bounties of the Sun, man is now blessed with light heat, electricity, and magnetism even the power that drives the winds; all the abundant energies of the universe he so required to dominate the world.

How much energy comes from the Sun?

The possibilities are amazing.

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In 2011, the International Energy Agency said that “the development of affordable, inexhaustible and clean solar energy technologies will have huge longer-term benefits. It will increase countries’ energy security through reliance on an indigenous, inexhaustible and mostly import-independent resource, enhance sustainability, reduce pollution, lower the costs of mitigating climate change, and keep fossil fuel prices lower than otherwise. These advantages are global. Hence the additional costs of the incentives for early deployment should be considered learning investments; they must be wisely spent and need to be widely shared”

the People and their Sun.

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In 30 October 2012 Oxford researchers have developed a photovoltaic (PV) technology that has the potential to deliver low cost, efficient solar cells that can be readily incorporated into glass building façades.

According to consumer reports, Two thirds of UK households benefiting from solar energy say their bills have been significantly reduced since investing in the technology, with most making an average annual savings of hundreds of pounds and as technology and energy capture becomes more efficient, households will save more and more.

with continuing breakthroughs happening all the time, we can look forward to an energy secure future that is cheap and safe for the environment and future generations. Solar energy will play a part in helping to reduce the increasing burden on dwindling fossil fuel reserves.

The prospect that 2/3 of the world’s population have no access to have access to the light energies that come from our nearest star affirms the need to innovate in this field. And to ensure that the energies of the universe should not become corporate commodities, especially that which comes from the sky.

The solar array in Spain.

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the human kind

kindness“Imagine that you’re asleep, and you then you wake up, you’re not sure where you are, you’re not sure if anyone else is around.

What would you probably do first?

You would likely look around and say ‘hello’? ‘hello’? – You’re attempting to find out (AM I ALONE?)” – Richard Berendzen

Asking that question ‘Am I alone’? throws into sharp relief the importance of people, and the relationships we form. humans are social mammals we need each other and there is no greater demonstration of this dependence than how we treat each other.

In light of the recent tragic events in Boston (the family and friends of whom our deepest condolences extend)  and what will be the continued torrent of media frenzy for the upcoming weeks, I feel this week’s on-line journal (because using the term ‘blog’ makes it seem like an alien being what made of mucus and lives in a cave) is as good as any to talk about why I ‘write’ for pplkind.

I used to believe that there was no greater indication of our positive evolution than our technological advancement further punctuated by our venture into space. Since the early 19th century we have been unknowingly beaming radio waves (television, radio) into vastness of space at the speed of light. I have always wondered with my nerdy curiosity that to any technologically intelligent life forms that may stumble across these inter-stellar ‘messages’ the Earth would seem like a very scary place.

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This is not the case.

Let it never be said that I am against the reporting of negative news, I write for pplkind to try and balance out the proliferation of negative news in our everyday lives. It serves to blind us to the oft unreported positive deeds of the many all around us (from the mundane to the monumental).

Contrary to what popular media would have us all believe, we don’t live on a world teetering on the edge of oblivion where anything worthy of mention is centred around war, crime, poverty and terror, but the rolling 24 hour nature of coverage of the world around in which we live often feels like being trapped in some cynical puppet-master’s ‘hunger games’. With the help of bombastic news graphics and Hollywood tier theme music, the previous week in particular has felt like the end of the season finale to ’24’.

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from our stories, we believe evolution is the progress of global culture, environmental awareness and action, collective intelligence, disruptive policy, innovative technology, life-saving science, conflict resolution and above all, kindness.

The Future is Ours

courtesy of Michael Marantz


pplkind wants to bring you undeniable proof that even in these times of uncertainty there lies an opportunity for change in the most profound way. A change that can push our evolution as a species.

People say good news doesn’t sell? Well we’re not selling it.

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I and founder of pplkind (Clare Saxon) believe we are living in very exciting times, times where technology in communications can allow the free sharing of ideas in economic, political or environmental solutions and innovations. I have rambled on for about 400 words now about people, kindness and progress the such, but if that has left you still baffled as to what I am rambling about kindly visit the pplkind website for a better understanding.

I must confess, I have never actually seen ’24’.

Never Stop Playing

ImageIn my formative years I was a very active child; I ran, jumped and played in the great outdoors, taking advantage of the boundless energy my adolescence afforded me. However upon visiting a friend one day during half-term break, I discovered video games and became a convert. And on those cold dark winter months the glow of the television was my portal and my Mega-drive and PlayStation(1) my allies in the war against reality

As a child of the 90s I am fortunate to have been a part of ‘gaming’ Zeitgeist before it entered the lexicon of popular culture. It is a hobby I am passionate about and a topic I will be talking about in greater detail in the future as I believe it to be a medium with boundless potential to enrich our everyday lives.

Gaming is no longer the sole reserve of disenfranchised young men, the oft preached negative image portrayal by mass media’s of ‘gamers’ as awkward shut-ins who retreat into the digital world is no longer the case because:

 

SOMETHING AMAZING IS HAPPENING!

Advancement in technology has allowed the proliferation of devices like smartphones, tablets, handhelds and casual (easy to pick and play) consoles like the Nintendo Wii to penetrate the mainstream in ways like never before. Currently Games lay claim to the world’s most lucrative entertainment medium edging out music and film by a wide margin.

ImageMeet Hilda Knott, 86, pensioner and certified AAA gamer. In January the BBC ran a story about her in which she expresses her love for the medium and the benefits it gives her as an elderly person. She is able to mentally stretch her muscles through incentives and puzzles and due to her eye-sight plays on a 64 inch beast of a plasma TV.

In a rapidly aging population, keeping the elderly mentally active as well as physically active is more important than ever. Games combine a potent mix of mental challenges of games such as ‘Brain Training’ and the physical exercise through devices like the Wii.

According to research done by GoodTherapy.org the benefits of interactive entertainment are:

Spatial-Reasoning Skills

Spatial-reasoning skills play a critical role in development and education. Children with good spatial-reasoning skills tend to score higher on IQ tests and often excel at geometry. Spatial reasoning can also improve navigational skills and in mental manipulation. Some research indicates that girls are less adept at spatial-reasoning tasks than boys, but spatial-reasoning skills can be learned, and video games are one method that can improve mastery. Video games require players to anticipate movements and, in the case of three-dimensional video games, force players to manipulate objects through a three-dimensional plane. Several recent studies have demonstrated an improvement in spatial-reasoning skills among both children and adults who regularly play video games.

Collaboration and Social Skills

Gamers are often stereotyped as people sitting alone in front of a television or computer, never bothering to take their eyes off of the screen, completely uninterested in social interaction. But contemporary video games often encourage players from around the world to work together to solve problems or complete tasks. This can help build social skills and improve problem-solving abilities in children and adults. Particularly for self-described loners and introverted people, video games may be a less stressful way to interact socially.

Critical-Thinking Skills

Critical-thinking skills enable children to master concepts rather than simply accept rote memorization. This vital skill is key in many pursuits, including science, maths,  engineering, and the humanities. Video game players are constantly presented with novel problems, many of which they must solve in a split second. This process improves critical-thinking skills and can teach gamers the value of trying several different solutions to a problem.

Rehabilitation and Specific Skills

Video games are increasingly realistic, and while this raises concerns about violence, it also offers new opportunities for teaching skills. Some schools now use video games to simulate real-life procedures such as surgery or flying a plane. Video games can also be used as a form of rehabilitation. For example, a 13-year-old boy with Erb’s palsy noticed marked improvement in control over his arms after playing video games.

What Hilda teaches us is the importance of engagement in our everyday lives, without consistent quality of stimuli, the human brain atrophies

 

NEVER STOP PLAYING!Image

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As you can see from our stories, we believe positive evolution is the progress of global culture, environmental awareness and action, collective intelligence, disruptive policy, innovative technology,  life-saving science, conflict resolution and above all, kindness.
 
If you are inspired by the stories you read here, we urge you to click on the peace button and donate some change to a charity of your choice.
 
Let’s accelerate the positive progress of people kind. 

Read the research paper