The XXIst Century is becoming a teenager, are we too?

The name of the coming decade, between now and 2020, has not yet appeared on the screens of the « namemakers » and it may take a few years before it does.

However, one thing is certain, whatever else happens in this decade, and the best or the worst could (the last teenage decade, 1910-1920 was one of the worst in human history), this decade will be a major milestone in the way humanity gets connected. I would suggest to call this decade « Birth Of The Total Connect ». Individuals will connect to individuals without knowing them and with very little introduction ceremony; individuals will connect to several types of work in a complex mix of virtual and real interactions; individuals will connect to the most important database of knowledge mankind ever produced; equipments and machines will connect with their masters i.e. us (including our fridges or home air conditioners via the Internet); they will also connect with each other — without us knowing about it — when they will need a refill or maintenance or « just » when they will be used to collect, store and message data about us in a systematic way, the current private data usage by Google for advertising is just a joke versus what is coming next.

This total connect decade has started. We need to better understand how it will affect our networks, our standard of living, our professional and private lives, our relation to work and to colleagues; how the relationship between corporations and their connected employees all over the world, their suppliers etc. will change and to what shape of the world of work it will lead.

This total connect will be one of the many elements of the chaos theory put in practice. The butterfly effect will show its reality within this decade and it will be true in fields as diverse as climate change, social networks, geopolitical issues, finance, migrations, human health, etc. A twitter stream could lead to the fall of a government, a rumor could ruin a corporate reputation, an other one an individual’s standing, etc.

The problem with total connect is that it connects to, both, the good and the bad, the truth and the rumor, the scientific database and the hoax. Yes, these are also the problems of teenagers who have to learn to discern and it is not easy for them.

What will be most needed for this decade is a « common » sense for managing our « commons » (what belongs to all of us in a way or another and for which we are responsible) in what is now clearly an unavoidable world of « commun »ities.

I wish us all a good teenager decade, the opportunity to become adults, to separate the wheat from the shaft, to become better actors of our world, to understand that it is changing faster than we can grasp, that all what we learned and considered right might be wrong within a fortnight.

It already happened, it was called the century of the lights, the Renaissance.

Our world is changing, let’s enjoy and be responsible.

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