From clever individuals to the un-thinking mass

I think the most thought-provoking talk today was by Mark Earls on ‘being human’ – how we’re moving from perceiving ourselves as clever individuals to a collaborative, un-thinking group.

He talked about how humans act  (or start to intiate behaviour) before we give it serious thought – therefore, in order to change how people think, we need to change their behaviour first. In addition to this, people like to copy and interact with each other – he used crowd mentality as an example of this.

This resonates with me. Think about kids – they’ve been brought up with computers, mobiles, television, radio – all these forms of communication, interlinked and happening at the same time. They’re becoming skilled at multi-tasking, to the point where concentrating on just one thing becomes a chore.  This is an example of environment creating a behaviour that in turn changes how we think, how are brains are wired.

We’re increasingly reliant on instant interaction with others. Often rather than giving a problem thought, I’ll tweet a question and let everyone else answer. My online profile is created more by an accumulation of links I’ve seen, rather than unique opinion – I am what I link to.

Is this changing us from thinking individuals to an unthinking computer, a unique set of links and interactions we find and make rather than unique thoughts? Is that why tweeting is so much easier than blogging?

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