Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Magical Wonders of Collective Intelligence

The industrial revolution was responsible for the major shift in moving people from the countryside to cities. People got access to work, a better lifestyle, higher pays, more information and above all, people supplemented their brain activity with great processing power. As people were exposed to new environments and adopted a unique and faster living lifestyle, the way they saw the world was totally different. Urbanization opened up the eyes of people to new possibilities. It assisted the development of infrastructure and aided the birth of the institutions we know today. Decades have gone by. Progress adopted a stable path and it was thought that it would keep on moving in the same manner.

1990! Birth of the internet! Initially, the internet was a mere source of storing information in static form. With the development of new technologies, the internet experienced a transition from being static to resemble a more dynamic fashion. Even then, it was a mere source of storing information. People would publish information which could be used by others freely and openly regardless of their physical locations. People gathering the information from the internet analyzed that the communication was one way and lacked a feedback loop. A strong need to attain two-way communication was experienced. A consequence of this need gave birth to social media. Social media opened up the internet and provided a platform for people to not only publish information but provide feedback in real time to counter the erroneous flaw which hindered two-way communication. People could finally give opinions openly on a platform where there are few institutionalized rules to obey, thereby creating a democratic atmosphere. People could voice. People could provide feedback. People could process more information to produce quality information. It would be plausible to assume the information has gotten richer, qualitative, research oriented and people are more aware of potentialities which were unthinkable a number of years ago. Progress in scientific research has been one of the most benefitted entities due to the birth of social media. People have finally been placed on a platform where they can put their heads together, brain storm together to merge information, produce ideas and divulge breathtaking potentialities which are not only needy given the current state of the world but are also innovative and sustainable.

There have been many studies which disclose the potential and the vast imaginative power of the human brain. However, there are other studies which indicate that with the passage of time, the human brain tends to lose creative power due to its exposure to simultaneous situations. On the other hand, it has been found by researchers that if humans are allowed to brainstorm on a collective basis, they become efficient, effective, productive and the quality of the results are overwhelming on a relative basis.

In the spirit of “IDEAS WORTH SPREADING”, Madrid gathered speakers, artists and performers at the annual TEDxMadrid event on September 15. The event showcased that if people allow themselves the luxury to work in collaborative fashion, the results are affected in the qualitative sense, yield becomes higher, productivity is enhanced and the working atmosphere is registered at an emotional level, thereby creating greater happiness and intelligence was multiplied.

One conclusion was clear that if people attempt to achieve great things, it cannot be done alone. Even the greatest of minds require feedback and more importantly, emotional uplift to achieve the unachievable. Yet, rarely is the case that it happens. People need people around them who can show them intelligent ways to counter problems. People need people who are caring and can give them that extra drive to move forward. Going solo is a good start but it may lead to an unwanted destination.

As it is always wise to extend the argument with an example, it would be good to portray that of Neil Armstrong, one of history’s extraordinary men who departed from the world some days ago. Neil Armstrong, the first man to land on the moon made a giant leap for mankind. It is true that Armstrong created an extraordinary moment, what was imagined had been achieved and the dream did come true. What many fail to realize is that it was perseverance, hardwork and most importantly, teamwork which made this possible because NO ONE GETS THERE ALONE!

Monday, September 3, 2012

7.68 Minutes Extra to Life ...

We think about having longer lives. We think about living happier lives. We struggle hard to find a balance between living in the present and yet attempting to place utmost endeavors to secure a future which, by all odds, is being traumatized by the current state of the world. The pursuit of attaining this balance has enforced repercussions amongst many of the worldly wise. Most people depart from the world without the fulfillment of their life objectives, not having spent enough time with people who matter to them, not being authentic as they would have wanted to be, not being able to follow dreams which truly reflect their personal selves or simply put, not doing things that really matter. There are plenty of reasons that can be attributed to these repercussions. Change in lifestyle is perhaps an umbrella rationale. Life has become faster, boundaries have converged, travel times have shortened, and diversity has intensified – all of which are plausible means to connect. The shift from mass media to the networked information environment probably is the biggest culprit of all. However, several studies indicate that while there is a significant proximity in the digital world (electrons chasing electrons), the human connection has suffered a massive blow. A possible accumulative outcome of these studies can help conclude that as subjects of this current generation retreat, the repercussions may only be greater. Desires will remain.  

Now imagine, what one would do if one could get some extra minutes in life. Maybe one can attempt to counter the repentance of life, spend time with friends, family or with someone who they dear. One wouldn’t think it is a plausible suggestion which is true. However, Jane McGonigal, a game-geek by profession explains how it can be possible to live longer (on a relative basis) in a TED Talk which is eye-opening and jaw-dropping to say the least.

There have been very few occasions where I have been overwhelmingly awed by a TED talk. I recall one talk by Neil Parischa at TEDxToronto who reflected on how one should approach life. Now, Jane produces this fine tailored talk with elements of research, studies and personal experiences to leave a surprising gift to the viewers.

If you miss it, you miss the very element of life which one dearly endure.