As a direct link between the pre and post digital world Millennials, (and Gen Z), are potentially the most important generation in human history. However, the digital native generation are not equipped with the mental resilience required to rise to the challenges ahead of them. This is primarily a result of technological disruptions amplified by the current state of our liberal democracy.
The digital native generation is like a child born prematurely into the technological age. We face challenges and questions that we have no previous paradigms for. We must live alongside, even compete with, Artificial Intelligence – a battle that we have no chance of winning. There is one main factor that could save us from being dominated by AI – that is our consciousness.
However, we know very little about human consciousness. Will it help us stay relevant and survive the speed of technology, without losing our sanity? So many resources are being dedicated to the advancement of AI and Bio-Tech. Yet, we have such little understanding of the human mind. If, we continue to get our priorities wrong, the future generations will pay a dear price.
One of the subjects that I’ve been thinking a lot about recently, is the impact of the internet and social media on human consciousness. Understanding the nature of the conscious mind may be the only thing that could save our species from becoming slaves to Artificial Intelligence, the Tech Giants, and their algorithms. Language is a good place to start when trying to understand the nature of the conscious mind.
According to Noam Chomsky “language, gives us an insight into the human mind”. He goes on to point out that “99% of our use of language is internal. It takes a tremendous amount of will not to talk to oneself”. We are constantly using language to tell ourselves stories about the world, and our place in it. Storytelling is how we make sense of reality and dream about the future.
Incidentally, we hear the word “storytelling” everywhere these days. Social media encourages us to share more stories. Why do you think that is? Well it might sound like a shocking revelation, once you put two and two together. The very nature of advertising and marketing industry is based on “storytelling”. Never before have we created and consumed so many stories, so rapidly, in the past.
Both creating and consuming stories require a higher level of conscious attention than normal. As opposed to the physical world which is tangible, stories are much more conceptual. So, we need to work harder to digest them. Our minds can’t possibly maintain this level constant of stimulation.
It has never been more important to develop the ability to break up the constant flow of stories in our minds and experience stillness and quiet. In 2019, let’s create content more responsibly. Let’s create less noise and more truly original content. My message to everyone who consumes and creates a lot of content, is to please be sure to allow space in your daily lives, to just be quiet and reflect. Please teach your kids and other younger people to make quiet time and reflection a part of their lives.
I’m currently writing a book on the mental health impact of technological disruptions on the younger generation, so this is very much on top of my mind and close to my heart.