Big picture thinking in an exponential age

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Of all the skills, values, and mindsets that we need in order to thrive in the future, perhaps the most underrated and unrecognized one is existential intelligence.

Existential intelligence is the intelligence of big picture thinking. People with existential intelligence tend to be critical thinkers who are unafraid to challenge the norm. These are individuals who have the ability to use metacognition (thinking about thinking, or being aware of ones awareness) to ask the big questions and seek answers to them.

Howard Gardner & Multiple Intelligences

Existential intelligence was first introduced by education expert Howard Gardner, who coined the theory of Multiple Intelligences.

According to Gardner, individuals have varying degrees of intelligence that documents the extent to which students possess different kinds of minds and therefore learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways. Gardner proposed that people may possess 7 different types of intelligence: Logical/Mathematical, Musical, Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Naturalist, Interpersonal, and Intrapersonal. At the time, Gardner also toyed with the idea of including existential/spiritual intelligence. …


Are you scared yet, human?

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A recent article published in the Guardian caught the attention of internet users worldwide. Unlike ordinary works of journalism that go viral, however, this particular piece was not written by a human. In a style that is evocative and attention-grabbing, The Guardian aptly titled it: “A robot wrote this entire article. Are you scared yet, human?”

The “robot” in question is GPT-3, or “Generative Pre-Trained Transformative 3”, OpenAI’s third iteration of an autoregressive language model that uses deep learning to produce human-like text. GPT-3 was prompted to write an essay to convince humans that robots come in peace.

The looming question is: does GPT-3 truly exhibit intelligence? …


Though all industries will become digital, smart, and rely on the power of the cloud, the most difficult jobs to automate will be those that quintessentially require higher-order thinking.

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This article was originally published on Forbes Middle East

In today’s age, it is no longer enough that only software programmers and IT specialists understand emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), 5G, blockchain, and data science. To understand their use and implications, current and future industry leaders ought to be able to recognize and have a grasp of these groundbreaking technologies. They should be able to gauge the impact these technologies have not only on business, but also on society and life.

One of the most pervasive questions that come up in discussions about the human race’s days ahead is around the future of work. This is understandable, given that today’s technologies alone can automate more than 45% of all activities we are now paid to do. The Luddites and the Musks of the world have often expressed their apprehensions of a future in which robots have taken away almost all our jobs. In such a scenario, it’s worth wondering: what will humans keep themselves busy with in an era in which AI matches or even surpasses human intelligence? …


Why all skeptics and corporate workers need to read Dan Harris’ 10% Happier

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Meditation and mindfulness practices are no longer strangers to the West. In fact, with the overload of apps, books, seminars, retreats, and life coaches, the meditation industry is said to have grown to become a billion-dollar industry in developed economies.

In this day and age, it is not uncommon for progressive Silicon Valley companies to offer employees wellness days and encourage them to be more present and mindful in order to deal with workplace stress.

But a lot of the hype around meditation is superficial. The real and honest value of exploring meditative practices is to lead a spiritual life — not in any dogmatic sense, but in the sense of leading a life of rigorous introspection. After all, our minds are *all* we have: and observing them is of exceptional significance. Consciousness and it’s contents are at the root of everything in this world — pain, suffering, happiness, fulfillment, innovation, science, art, culture, and music. …


The most important question humanity can ask itself

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The question about the emergence of consciousness is perhaps the most important question humanity should attempt to answer.

Consciousness and its contents are at the root of everything. Consciousness is what is responsible for all of the greatest artifacts of culture that humanity has created: art, music, science, philosophy, technology.

Every child, adolescent, and adult ought to ask themselves: what is consciousness? Why does it exist? What is it like to be human? Why is it that a complex organization of unconscious matter and particles in certain corners of the universe gives rise to consciousness? …


Harnessing the power of AR, VR and The Tactile Internet

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Today, exponential technologies and disruptive innovations are ushering in a world of accelerating change. Every day, old industries are being destroyed and new ones are born. As a result, the nature of work is drastically changing, to say the least. We’re at the cusp of what experts call The Fourth Industrial Revolution. This revolution hinges on 5G Technology. 5G will not only power our economy but also transform our daily lives and the consumer experience.

Simply put, 5G stands for the fifth generation of mobile networks. We can speculate about its implications, but the changes induced by 5G will be exponential, making it difficult for us to precisely describe what 5G is or what it entails. …


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In 2017, U.S. state trial courts received a gastronomical 83 million court cases.

The Chinese Civil Law system sees over 19 million cases per year, with only 120,000 judges to rule over them.

In the OECD area (consisting of most high-income economies), the average length for civil proceedings is 240 days in the first instance; the final disposition of cases often involves a long process of appeals, which in some countries can go up to 7 years.

It’s no secret that the judiciary system in many countries is long, tedious, slow, and can cause months of misery, pain, and anxiety to individuals, families, corporations, and litigators. …


One thing is clear: Silicon Valley needs to re-focus its efforts

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This article was originally published in Forbes Middle East.

For most of human history, progress has been linear. Trade and globalization were limited by distance. New inventions took decades to evolve. But with the onset of the 20th century, the path of mankind’s progress changed. We now live in an exponential era, in which industries are constantly on the brink of disruption.

But what exactly does “exponential” mean? Envision this: If you take 30 linear steps, you’ll find yourself 30 meters forward. But if you take 30 exponential steps, you could be a billion meters away from your starting point.

Exponential figures are not intuitive to us. Trends in exponential growth are unpredictable; a technological innovation on the exponential curve may explode and spread like wildfire without any indication whatsoever. This means that the technology moves faster than society. …


How zooming out in the middle of a pandemic can help ease our suffering

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Image Credit: Greg Rakozy, Unsplash

“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it’s different. Consider again that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you love, everyone you know, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. …


Breaking it down: biology and its replication

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How Intelligent Are We, Really?

This is a question that has captured our minds for much of human history. So much so, that from the I.Q. to the E.Q., to standardized tests that students are forced to take, we have searched for the appropriate measure of human intelligence for decades now.

We know, with complete certainty, that we are more intelligent than other primates. We know this because, despite the fact that we have no real extraordinary physical capability, we have managed to out-smart most of the animal kingdom.

We have used our intelligence to create, problem-solve, adapt, build technology, and therefore surprise any predator that may come our way, regardless of its herculean strength or secret biological weapon. …

About

Tannya D. Jajal

I work @VMware. Philosophy, Psychology, Technology, Ethics, Policy

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