I was recently asked by an older man if it seemed like the world was getting dumber.
I thought about what he asked…then I saw a Pokemon so I had to go.
But seriously, it’s a good question: Are we getting dumber as a society?
If so, what’s changed?
We are no longer transitioning to the digital age…we’ve been there.
The age of virtual reality has arrived.
On one hand this is an incredible achievement of creativity and innovation on the part of its pioneers.
On the other hand, the rest of us are losing consciousness…our world is becoming a not-so-lucid dream.
Now, this may sound like sci-fi speculation or a fear of a matrix-like world, but the new reality is unreality.
I’m not saying videogames and virtual reality make people dumber.
However, if we don’t exercise our imaginations outside of these created-for-us worlds, then our other intelligence, namely divergent thinking, will be a lost art.
It’s just a fact that we only have so many hours in a day.
It’s also a fact that the success of alternative reality games and experiences is measured by how immersed in them you become.
So when you see young kids “glued” to electronics, it’s all by design.
Part of the reason the modern world feels so overwhelming is because everything is built to attract your attention and to literally take your time.
The solution is hidden in the problem.
Technology is the portal into those other worlds.
Rather than fight them or ignore their existence, we need to learn how to get what we need out of them.
That’s why education technology and learning platforms are the best way for us to become citizens of the virtual realm.
You can use technology to sharpen your awareness and raise your intelligence if it forces you into a mode of active learning.
The issue is that most games and apps are designed to be mindless, incentivized strictly by short-term rewards.
However, education technology gives a means to actively engage users with real world rewards.
The trick is in providing an experience that doesn’t feel like learning or can make real life progress feel like a video game.
So the long answer to the old man’s question: People aren’t getting dumber — we’re just distracted and only halfway living in the real world.
In my next post I’ll address another issue — how technology is changing the way we communicate and how “social studying” will revolutionize learning.