The times they are a changin' exponentially

Shift happens. That was the message at a newspaper meeting I attended last week. The "shift" in this case was more and more people turning to the Web for their news and information needs.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010

Shift happens.

That was the message at a newspaper meeting I attended last week. The "shift" in this case was more and more people turning to the Web for their news and information needs.

We've been aware of this for some time, of course, and are taking some steps to deal with it. But the "shift" is a big one and encompasses far more than just peoples' information consumption habits.

The program opened with a video called "Did You Know." It's available at YouTube.com; just search for "Did You Know."

It offered some interesting information, including the following.

If you're one in a million in China, there are 1,300 people just like you; in India there are 1,100 people just like you.

The 25 percent of China's population with the highest IQs is greater than the entire population of North America. In India it's 28 percent.

India and China have more honors kids than we have kids.

In 10 years China will become the No. 1 English-speaking country in the world.

If you took every single job in the United States today and off-shored it to China, China would still have a labor surplus.

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that today's learner will have 10 to 14 jobs ... before the age of 38.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, one out of four people is working for a company they've been with for less than a year; more than half are working for a company they've been employed with for less than five years.

According to Richard Riley, former U.S. secretary of education, the top 10 jobs that will be in demand in 2010 didn't even exist in 2004.

Name this country: Richest in the world, largest military, center for world business and finance, strongest education system, center of innovation and invention, currency the world standard value and highest standard of living. The answer: Great Britain ... in 1900.

The U.S. is 20th in the world in broadband penetration (Luxembourg just passed us).

Nintendo invested $140 million in research and development in 2002 alone. The U.S. federal government spent less than half as much on research and innovation in education.

One out of every eight couples married in this country last year met online.

As of September 2006, there were more than 106 million registered users of MySpace. If MySpace were a country, it would be the 11th largest in the world (between Japan and Mexico). More than 230,000 new users signed up for MySpace ... today. The average MySpace page is visited 30 times per day.

We are living in exponential times.

The first commercial text message was sent in 1992. Today, the number of text messages sent and received every day exceeds the population of the planet.

More than 3,000 new books are published every day.

It is estimated that a week's worth of the New York Times contains more information than a person would come across in a lifetime in the 18th century. It is estimated that 1.5 exabites, whatever in the heck that is, of unique new information will be generated worldwide this year. That's estimated to be more than in the previous 5,000 years.

The message, of course, is the world is changing and the pace of change is quickening all the time. While we can make guesses, nobody knows what it's going to look like 10 years from now.

So whether your livelihood is newspapers, finance, welding or widgets, it's a good idea to try to stay abreast of the changes and make whatever adjustments are necessary to stay competitive with those brainy Chinese and Indians.

Ten years from now, we don't want the people of the world to be comparing the United States of 2007 to the Great Britain of 1900, but it could happen.

Comments

JEF (Anonymous)

Your piece reminded me of a quote from Neil Postman - ' All technological change is a Faustian bargain. For every advantage a new technology offers, there is always a corresponding disadvantage.'