Hybrid age: A merger of technology with human mind

Updated 26 September 2013

Hybrid age: A merger of technology with human mind

To survive in tomorrow’s world, people will need to have a high technology quotient (TQ). Just as the IQ became a yardstick of intelligence in the 20th century, the TQ will become a measurement of how well we meet the technological upheaval of the 21st.
The coming era will see a quantum leap in the sophistication of the technology we use. Proficiency in these technologies will therefore be a prerequisite for success. The percentage of jobs requiring high-tech knowledge has already exploded. As a recent Canadian report pointed out, for example, “Your local coffee-shop barista not only serves your coffee, but is also expected to troubleshoot the Wi-Fi.”
In tomorrow’s world, your coffee-shop barista may do more than just troubleshoot the Wi-Fi – he or she may be biologically wired into it. We are at the dawn of the Hybrid Age. In this new era, technology will merge with the human mind, and with our bodies. Genetics will become data and we will be able to program our own biology. Consider the examples we have already seen. Biomechatronics combines biology, electrical engineering, and mechanics, and has led to highly advanced prosthetics that possess a strength, flexibility, and resilience superior to human muscle and bone. Through brain–computer interfaces, we can exactly identify how, for instance, a certain eye movement triggers certain neural areas — and we can translate these readings into actions. Hundreds of thousands of people have witnessed the potential of this technology through a YouTube video from the University of Pittsburgh in which a monkey moves a robotic arm that is operated by reading its brain signals. We have inserted proteins into the brains of mice to increase their cognitive abilities or change their moods. When shaping our children’s education, we must focus on cultivating high TQs. Kids need to learn what technology is, what it means, and how to deal with its benefits and dangers. The process must start at a very young age.
Without high TQs, we won’t be able to manage tomorrow’s technological challenges and may end up wasting opportunities. When properly managed, technology can provide huge benefits. Dean Kamen, who invented the Segway, has developed a simple device called the Slingshot that purifies water through boiling and condensation. It has the potential to provide safe drinking water for millions of people in developing countries. We need high TQs because technology is a macro force — a structural process whose diffusion is rapid and all embracing. It impacts our economics, our politics, our social relations, and the way we live. And it will continue to change our world in ways we can scarcely imagine.

• In partnership with The Mark News


Lithuania confirms first case of coronavirus

Updated 8 min 20 sec ago

Lithuania confirms first case of coronavirus

  • Lithuania reported on Friday its first confirmed case of coronavirus
  • Nigeria on Friday announced the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa

VILNIUS: Lithuania reported on Friday its first confirmed case of coronavirus, the government said, as the disease spreads rapidly worldwide.
Hopes that the virus would be contained to China vanished, with countries beginning to stockpile medical equipment and investors taking flight in expectation of a global recession.

New Zealand's health ministry on Friday also confirmed the country's first case of coronavirus in a person who recently returned from Iran.
Meanwhile, Nigeria on Friday announced the first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus in sub-Saharan Africa.
The case is an Italian citizen who works in Nigeria and returned from Milan earlier this week, Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said in a statement on Twitter.
“The patient is clinically stable, with no serious symptoms, and is being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos,” Ehanire said.
Italy has become a hotbed of infection in recent days, with the largest outbreak in Europe.
But the low number of cases across Africa, which has close economic ties with China, the epicenter of the deadly outbreak, has puzzled health specialists.

In Greece, two new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to three.
The health ministry said one of the cases concerned a relative of a 38 year old woman in the northern town of Thessaloniki, the first confirmed case reported in Greece. The woman had recently returned from Milan in northern Italy.