“The greatest benefit of writing is that it provides the tool by which society can record information consistently and in greater detail, something that could not be achieved as well previously by spoken word. Writing allows societies to transmit information and to share knowledge.”Wikipedia, History of Writing
In the 5000 years since mankind invented writing (somewhere between 3400 and 3300 BC), we’ve learned how to store, sift through and find patterns in the 2.5 quintillion bytes of new data we generate about ourselves every 24 hours. The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) most recent report How much data is generated each day? focused on three key areas: Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Solving the problems of the Global Commons, and Addressing global security issues.
Our children are going to inherit this planet, or one that will closely resemble it. The better we prepare them for the transition, the better the odds that they’ll experience job security, a good life and the means to continue feeding, clothing and sheltering themselves.
“As assumptions about growth models are overturned, the international balance of power continues to fray, and scientific and technological breakthroughs promise to transform economies and societies, the unique platform provided by the Forum helps leaders from all walks [of] life to prepare for exponentially disruptive change.”World Economic Forum: How much data is generated each day?
The 7.7 billion of us on planet Earth are in the midst of unprecedented change. We’ve built our civilization based on higher education courtesy of the world’s 28,077 universities. Our children’s way of life will depend on how wisely they choose and apply that education, and that they bear in mind that its value will lie in the eye of the employer.
By 2025, enrollment in those universities will stand at 262 million. When they graduate, those students will discover redefined employee/employer relationships and academic credentials that will be more valued in certain circumstances than in others. This is already happening against a backdrop of a buyer’s market for knowledge and intellect.
These examples of what that world is up to were published between June 5th and June 7th, 2019. Each comes with its own set of upstream and downstream implications.
- The Car Industry Is Under Siege. The New York Times — June 6, 2019
- Planes, trains and the future of Bombardier. The Toronto Star — June 7, 2019
- Unemployment at record low after 27,700 jobs added in May. BNN Bloomberg — June 7, 2019
- Fiat Chrysler, Renault shares drop after merger falls apart. Market Watch — June 5, 2019
- Backlash to plastic has companies worried about oil-based products. Financial Post — June 5, 2019
Bloomberg Businessweek’s The Wealth Detective Who Finds the Hidden Money of the Super Rich (May 23, 2019) is a different but revealing insight into the workings of that world. So is the 2019 FORTUNE 500 ranking of America’s biggest corporations.
We’re a stone’s throw from starting the process of settling the Moon and Mars (NASA and Wikipedia respectively). On Earth or off, our children will be shaping and living with the consequences. It’s why we’ll continue to send them to school. Their ability to earn a living will depend on it.
We’re not in Kansas anymore. It won’t be long before some of us add, ” … or on Earth, for that matter.”