28 November 2008

We're taking over the world!

In A Whole New Mind, author Daniel Pink asserts that right-brained people will take over the world. And who exactly are these right-brained types? According to Pink, they are the artists, creative types, people who can make broad associations and people who are more like Renaissance 'Jack/Jills of all trades' rather than the incredibly specialized professionals.

I skimmed this book in the bookstore, and it seems like the anti-Christ of the Baby Boomers. If what this book says is true, then it's good that many Baby Boomers will be retiring soon. In their day, it was all about specialization, working hard to rise up through the ranks and then enjoying a nice pension. This book says that trajectory is no more.

The example the book gives is how the best chess players in the world can no longer beat a computer. A computer will never falter, will never sweat and make a stupid mistake, will never beat itself up over a bad move. It will just calculate away and win. Similarly, the author argues that all of the logical left-brain tasks can eventually become automated.

What can never become automated, however, is our human creativity. It's great news for us creative types who are a little good at many things but not really amazing at one thing. I've often thought life would be so simple if I were just this Olympic gymnast, reared to be an amazing, spinning, jumping little spring. It would be all gymnastics all the time, I'd be incredible at it, and I'd never have to wonder about my life having a purpose. But then I'd miss out on all the exciting things I got to try and fail at. So, on second thought: no, thanks. I have to go take over the world.

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