Did You Know?

At a 2009 shareholder meeting, Sony played a powerful video.

It emphasized changes that are shaping and reshaping the world we live in today and the one we’ll live in tomorrow.

The facts are startling and thought-provoking; the pace is rapid-fire and unrelenting.

You can watch the video here, but meanwhile I’ve highlighted some key points below.

Did you know?
  • If you’re one in million in China, there are 1300 people just like you.
  • China will soon become the number one English speaking country in the world.
  • The top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 did not exist in 2004.
  • We are currently preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist using technologies that haven’t been invented, to solve problems we don’t even know are problems yet.
  • The US Department of Labor estimates that today’s learner will have 10-14 jobs by the age of 38.
  • There are 31 billion searches on Google every month. In 2006, this number was 2.7 billion.
  • Years it took to reach a market audience of 50 million: Radio – 38 years; TV – 13 years; Internet – 4 years; iPod – 3 years; Facebook – 2 years.
  • There are about 540,000 words in the English language, about five times as many as during Shakespeare’s time.
  • The amount of new technical information is doubling every 2 years. For students starting a 4-year technical degree this means that half of what they learn in their first year of study will be outdated by their third year of study.
  • By 2013, a supercomputer will be built that exceeds the computational capabilities of the human brain.

These facts may well be true, but let's pause for a moment.

Do the math. How many jobs had you had? (Count jobs, not careers.) If you worked during high school and college, you could easily have had 10 or more jobs by the time you were 28, not 38.

Consider the context. Name one point in the past 100+ years when we haven’t been preparing students for “jobs that don’t yet exist using technologies that haven’t been invented.” John Glenn was born in 1921, only 18 years after the Wright brothers invented a working airplane. In 1957, he completed the first transcontinental supersonic flight, and in 1962, he was the first man to orbit the earth.

Challenge the premise. Technical information may double every 2 years, but that doesn’t automatically negate preceding technologies. In fact, there’s a better than 80% chance new information builds upon or is derived from existing knowledge and information. The first light bulb was invented in 1802 and perfected in the 1880s. More than 100 years later, we’re still using evolved versions of that invention.

Yes, we live in exponential times, and the world is changing. Is it changing faster than we want? Slower than we need? Or vice versa?

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Reference
Sony Video:  Did You Know?

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