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Mentally ready for the constant, quick change

By Jean-Claude Elias - Aug 24,2017 - Last updated at Aug 24,2017

The fast pace of technological changes and innovation continues unabated. Minor ones aside, perhaps the most obvious, the biggest two trends are electric cars and then our increasing dependency on the digital cloud for most everything.

The first is the impressive, strong push by the industry and governments to discontinue gasoline cars and move either to hybrid or to fully electric vehicles. The second is making us not just to keep data there but also, and more importantly, to do all our computer work, transactions, purchases and business directly on the net, without installing software on our computers, except for Internet access. The combined social impacts of these two changes cannot be underestimated. Moreover, merely following is not enough, one has to make the best of it all.

Make the best of the innovations requires adaptation. So, how do you adapt?

The speed of change is nothing new. For the last 25 years or so, we have kept on saying “technological changes are taking place faster than we can adapt to them” – it’s understood. Even those working in the technology field are now finding it hard to follow. It is therefore easy to imagine how the consumer, the layman feels about it!

For a quarter of a century we have just been observing the situation and admitting how hard it was to adapt, without anyone coming up with a solution, not to the change per se of course, but to learning how to adapt quickly, smoothly.

This is a big question, and asking for a formal, structured methodology to address it is easier said than done, I admit.

Countless subjects have become crucial to living well in this modern age. Adapting to technological changes is one of them. This is one of the topics that they don’t teach you at school, for there has simply never been any curriculum set for that. Maybe academics and education authorities should start thinking about it; it is never too late.

There would be no need to establish a full college degree in what I would call “Adapting to Technological Changes”; that would be going overboard. However, setting up an elective course would do nicely. Essentially it all consists of being mentally ready to keep learning new ways, not to be “locked” in what you already know, have learned or are using at some point in time.

One should be constantly prepared to accept the fact that, for example, whatever software application you have learned and are using, you should never take it for granted or think you will be using it as it is for as long as you live, but should be willing to start all over again and again, and learn a new one several times in a lifetime, repeatedly, relentlessly.

I have spoken to computer programmers who have graduated in the 1980s. Most of them are already in their fourth or fifth programming language. College days seem so distant…

Many are the drivers who are over sixty, and who still do not make the best use of the (already old) technology built in their cars such as ABS or automatic gear shifting. How are they going to handle fully-electric cars? Swedish carmaker Volvo has just announced that starting 2019 it will completely stop building gasoline-only cars and France has serious plans to see only electric cars on its roads by 2040.

 

So next time you see a screen notification on your computer inviting you to upgrade Windows 10 to its new Creators version (expected before the end of this year), or if your Internet provider is after you, nagging to make you change from copper ADSL to fibre optic, just welcome the change and go for it gladly. It is easy and painless once you accept the idea that nothing stays the same for too long in the field of technology. It’s just a state of mind one has to get into.

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