Something to learn today to succeed in 2050
A Life / / December 19, 2019
In 2018 Harari has released a new book "21 lessons for the XXI century". We have selected and translated the most interesting places from the chapter about training.
Yuval Noah Harari
Medievalist, best-selling author Sapiens and Homo Deus.
Mankind is on the verge of an unprecedented revolution. The child, who was born today in 2050 will be 30 small. With a good scenario, it will live up to 2100 and might even become an active citizen of the XXII century.
What we need to teach this child that he survived and succeeded in the new world? What skills he will need to get a job, to understand the world and to navigate the maze of life?
Unfortunately, since no one knows what will be the world in 2050 (not to mention the XXII century), we do not know the answer to these questions. Of course, people will never be able to accurately predict the future. But today, to make it even more difficult, because as soon as the technology will allow us to create artificial body, brain and mind, we are no longer of anything we can not be sure. Including the fact that once seemed immutable and eternal.
A thousand years ago, in 1018, people did not know much about the future. Nevertheless, they had confidence that the basic foundations of society will not change. If you live in China, in 1018, you know that in 1050 could fall Song Empire, from the north will attack the Khitan tribes, and epidemic can carry out the lives of millions of people.
However, you clearly that even in 1050 the majority of residents will continue to be farmers and weavers, and the rulers will continue to recruit to the military and bureaucratic service people. Men will continue to dominate the women, life expectancy will continue to be about 40 years, and the human body will remain exactly the same.
Therefore, in 1018 the poor Chinese parents teach their children how to plant rice or weave silk. Rich taught sons to read, write and fight on horseback, and daughters - to be humble and obedient wives. It was obvious that these skills will continue to be needed in 1050. Today, we have no idea what will be China or any other country in the world in 2050.
We do not know what people will make a living as will be arranged the army and the bureaucracy, what are the gender relations.
Some are likely to live much longer than they are today, and the human body itself due to the bioengineering and brain-computer interface can be changed beyond recognition. Much of what children learn today, in 2050, is likely to be irrelevant.
Now most schools students in the head trying to cram as much information as possible. In the past, it made sense, because the information was not enough, and even the meager trickle of existing knowledge periodically blocked by the censor.
If you lived in a small provincial town in Mexico in 1800, you would have been difficult to get a lot of information about the external world. There was no radio, television, daily newspapers, and public libraries. Even if you were literate and have access to the private library, your choices are limited to reading novels and religious treatises.
The Spanish empire was exposed to significant censorship of all local texts and passed to a few proven edition. Almost the same situation was in the provincial towns of Russia, India, Turkey and China. Schools teaching every child to read and write, as well as basic facts of geography, history and biology have become enormous progress.
- TEST: How well do you remember the school curriculum?
But in the XXI century, we are drowning in information flows. If you live in a provincial Mexican city, and you have a smartphone, you can not spend a life just by reading "Wikipedia", despite appearances TED and passing free online courses. No government hopes to cover all of it inconvenient information. But incredibly easy to fill people's conflicting information and newspaper ducks.
To get the latest posts on the bombings in Aleppo or the melting of Arctic ice, only a couple of mouse clicks. But contrary to each other so much information that it is difficult to understand what to believe. And just as readily available a myriad of other content. When politics or science seem to be too complicated, so tempting to switch to a funny video with seals, celebrity gossip or porn.
In such a world, the last thing a teacher should be given the disciples - it is one more piece of information. They and so it too much.
Instead, people need the ability to comprehend information, distinguish between important and unimportant and, most importantly, to combine multiple data pieces into a coherent picture of the world.
In fact, this was the ideal of Western liberal education for centuries. But until now to implement it quite casually. Teachers convey facts, encouraging students to "think independently". For fear of falling into authoritarianism they believe so: if they give the students a lot of data and a little freedom, they themselves make world picture. And even if one generation will not synthesize all the data into a coherent and meaningful story, it will be enough time in the future.
But time ran out. The decisions that we take over the next decades, will shape the future of our very life. If this generation is not a comprehensive view of the world, their future will be decided by chance.
So, what to teach children? Many experts in pedagogy say that we should teach them "to four K": critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. That is to focus less on the technical skills and give priority to universal life skills.
The most important thing will be the ability to cope with change, learn new things and keep the psychological balance in unknown situations.
To keep up with life in 2050, it will have not only to invent new ideas and products, but also the time to rebuild itself over and over again. No one can predict the specific changes that await us in the future. Any detailed scenario is likely to be far from the truth.
If someone's description of the middle of the XXI century like science fictionMost likely, it is wrong. On the other hand, if this description not like science fiction, it is definitely wrong. We can not be sure of the details, the changes - the only certainty.
Since time immemorial, life was divided into two adjacent phases: training and the next job for him. During the first stage you will gain knowledge, develop skills, and formed the world constructed their identity.
Even if in 15 years you have spent most of the day working in the rice field, you still primarily learned how to cultivate rice and negotiate with greedy traders from the big city as to settle a row over land and water with other villagers.
In the second step, you use the acquired skills to navigate the world, earn a living and be part of society. Of course, in 50 years you have learned something new about rice, traders and quarrels, but all these were only minor additions to the already honed skills.
By the middle of the XXI century the accelerating pace of change and the increased life expectancy will make a vestige of the traditional model.
This is likely to be associated with tremendous stress. Change is almost always stressful, but after a certain age, most people just do not like change. When you are 15, your whole life is a change. Your body grows, develops consciousness, deepen relationships.
For you, everything is in motion, everything is new. You invent yourself. It is scary, but at the same time exciting. Before you open up new horizons, you only have to conquer the world.
By age 50, you do not want to change, and most people abandoned the conquest of the world. Swam, we know have a shirt as a souvenir. Do you prefer stability. You have invested so much in their skills, career, identity and worldviews that do not want to start all over again.
- How to start a new life, if you are 40 years old
The harder you work to create something, the harder it is to let go. Maybe you still cherish new experiences and small innovations, but most of the 50-year-old is not ready to rebuild their identity.
This is due to the device of the nervous system. Although the adult brain is more flexible than previously thought, he still is not as malleable as the adolescent brain. The creation of new neural connections - it is hard work. But in the XXI century stability - a luxury.
Trying to hold on to the identity or the work world, you run the risk of being left behind while the world flies by whistling. And since life expectancy is likely to increase, you can for many decades to become a fossil.
To keep up economically and socially, will need the ability to constantly learn and rebuild itself.
When the unknown - this is a new rule on the past can no longer be relied upon with former confidence. Every individual and humanity as a whole still have to increasingly deal with things with which nobody faced before: sverhumnymi machines, artificial created bodies algorithms that with remarkable accuracy manipulated emotions rapid climate and disasters necessity every 10 years old change professions.
What action can be regarded as correct in a situation that has no parallel in the past? How to proceed to obtain huge amounts of information, which can not fully understand and analyze? How to live in a world where uncertainty - not a system error, and its main characteristics?
To survive and succeed in this world, need psychological and emotional balance flexibility. We'll have to again and again to let go of what you know best and feel comfortable in the dark.
Unfortunately, to teach children this is much harder than to explain the physical cause of the formula or the First World War. The teachers themselves do not usually have enough mental flexibility, which requires the XXI century, because they - a product of the old education system.
So, the best advice I can give 15-year-olds stuck in outdated school - do not rely too much on adults.
Most of them want to be better, but they just do not understand the world. In the past, to follow the example of the older was almost a win-win option, because the world is changing slowly. But the XXI century will be different. Due to the fact that the pace of change is accelerating, we can never be sure whether you pass adult imperishable wisdom and outdated misconception.
On that same trust instead? Maybe on the technology? It is more risky. Technology can help, but if they are given too much power over your life, you become hostage their goals.
Thousands of years ago, people invented agriculture, but it has enriched only a small stratum of the elite, drawing the slaves of the majority of people. Most of them work from dawn to dusk: weeded weeds pulled buckets with water, corn cultivated under the scorching sun. It can happen to you.
Technology - is not evil. If you know what you want in life, they can help to achieve this. But if you do not have clear desires, they will shape your goals and control your life. And as a result you may find that serve them, and they did not serve you. We saw the zombies that roam the streets, not looking up from smartphones? Do you think they are in control technology? Technology or control them?
Then it is necessary to rely on yourself? It sounds great on Sesame Street, or in the old Disney movie, but in reality it does not help much. Even Disney began to realize it. Like the heroine of "Puzzle" Riley Anderson, most people barely know themselves. And trying to "listen to yourself" easily become the victim of manipulation.
With the development of biotechnology and machine learning to manipulate the deep emotions and desires will be even easier. When Coca-Cola, Amazon, search engines, and the government knows how to pull the strings of your heart, can you tell the difference between himself and tricks marketers?
We'll have to exert a lot of effort and better understand its operating system - know who you are and what you want out of life.
It is the oldest piece of advice: Know thyself. For thousands of years, philosophers and prophets encouraged the people to this. But this advice has never been as important as in the XXI century. Now, in contrast to the time of Lao Tzu and Socrates, you have a serious competitor.
Coca-Cola, Amazon, search engines, government - all are involved in the race to hack you. They want to crack your smartphone is not, not your computer and your bank account, and you and your organic operating system.
Right now! Algorithms watching you. Of where you idoto that buy, whom to meet. Soon they will track your every move, every breath, every heartbeat. They rely on big data and machine learning to get to know you better and better. And as soon as these algorithms will know you better than you know yourself, they will be able to control and manipulate you, and you almost can not do anything. You will find yourself in a matrix or in The Truman Show.
Of course, you may be happy to convey the power of algorithms and trust them to make decisions for you and for the whole world. If so, just relax and have fun. You do not need to do. Algorithms will take care of everything.
But if you want to keep at least some control of his personal existence and the future of life, will have to overtake algorithms overtake Amazon and the government and to know yourself before it they will do. And in order to run fast, do not take the road heavy luggage. Leave all illusions behind, because they weigh a lot.
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