Hyperconnected societies and individuals

The invention of the steam engine has had a profound impact on human development, leading to rapid industrialization and the growth of group spontaneity. With each civilization striving for its own version of democracy, humanity has also benefited from the explosion of information in a very short time, ushering in the era of hyper-connectivity. However, there is a flip side to this story. The fast-evolving environment around us is also pushing us towards a new era of isolation, with the internet paradoxically contributing to this trend.

The concept of hyper-connectivity can be traced back to Genghis Khan, one of humanity’s most celebrated heroes. However, it represents a reverse of his approach to connectivity, as today’s hyper-connectivity relies on information infrastructure, logistics systems, and military highways instead of a decentralized network of horse stations. Genghis Khan’s “horse highway” was a decentralized network that utilized fast horses to deliver not just information, but also victory in war. Today’s “horses” are the information networks that power hyper-connectivity. In this sense, hyper-connectivity represents a counterpoint to the protocol era.

In 2007, The Gartner Group, an American IT consulting firm, coined the term “hyperconnected” to describe a society where humans, objects, and all other entities are interconnected as tightly as a spider’s web. This level of connectivity has led to a leveling of information and an expansion of influence, but as Matthias Horst noted in his book “The End of Technology,” it’s not a question of either/or, but rather recognizing human needs alongside technological advancement.

Throughout history, people have hidden their most basic needs for survival and protection, and those who have discovered them have often become the leaders of society. Figures like Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, and Napoleon rose to prominence by observing their world and themselves, understanding their true desires, and taking action to simplify the planet. In the same way, new technologies and methodologies require time and wisdom to develop in a way that meets human needs and aspirations. By focusing on both technology and humanity, we can create a society that is truly hyperconnected and beneficial for all.

Simplification is an important process that involves observing our surroundings and identifying what is essential while eliminating what is unnecessary. However, it can be challenging to develop this habit. According to Daniel Kahneman, the founder of behavioral economics, confirmation bias is a major obstacle to simplification. This is the tendency to readily accept information that confirms our existing beliefs while ignoring information that contradicts them. As a result, we often see only what we want to see and ignore other relevant facts.

Hyperconnectivity has provided us with an abundance of information, leading us to become increasingly interested in material phenomena and situations, and comparing ourselves to others. Unfortunately, this trend has resulted in people prioritizing the unfiltered sharing of information over developing their own matured thoughts and lives. This makes it difficult for the average person to achieve greatness as they are too distracted by the constant flow of information and comparisons to others. By taking a step back and simplifying our lives, we can focus on what truly matters and develop our own unique perspectives and ideas.

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