Herbert George Wells, one of the forerunners of science fiction, as well as historian, writer and philosopher, asserted more than 70 years ago that “human history is essentially a history of ideas. Ideas move us forward as a civilization. What makes the world evolve has to do with ideas. The transformation we are undergoing as a result of new ideas that have emerged and been implemented in recent decades never ceases to amaze us because of the inexhaustible human capacity to create, explore and innovate. Human beings not only do not remain indifferent to change, but also seek to reinvent and redefine themselves. If, as Wells said, “there is no intelligence where there is no change and no need for change,” we can be sure that the human being of the 21st century is probably the most intelligent in history. And in this context of expanded intelligences, discussing ideas, creating them, promoting them, sharing them, embracing them is another symptom of human evolution. We are facing a new world, a world in which new technologies, connectivity, autonomy, digitalization and so many connected forces are converging to create a new status quo. Even if we as humanity are not on the right path, it is far worse to stand still, immobile. In the end, “the measure of intelligence is the ability to change” as Albert Einstein said. What is changing? How is it changing us? Why so many changes? When to start taking them on board?
Certainly the world is moving at two speeds (at least). The speed of a part of the world that is already in the digital era and the other half. The situation is that in terms of population, the first half represents a little more than 50% while the second half represents the rest. In this second half of the world in which digital is a future and not a present, talking about machines, robots, artificial intelligence, smart cities, big data and blockchain sounds Martian, so this paper is focused on the “connected” half, which is also advancing at different speeds, both physical and legislative and mental. Which does not in the least imply ignoring the titanic pending task of reaching the meeting point between the two halves so that we then have a world that advances and progresses collectively. Aldoux Huxley wrote in “The Ends and the Means” (1937) that “we all wish for a better social state. But society cannot be improved until two great tasks are accomplished. Unless peace is established on firm foundations, and unless the dominant obsessions with respect to money and power are profoundly modified, there is no hope that any desirable transformation can be effected.” The processes of social transformation are not as rapid as we would wish, it is evident. We are quicker to embrace the introduction of the smartphone as a natural extension of our lives than to embrace a change in mentality.