Shift Happens

3 Apr, '07

JJ sent me this video this morning (thanks!) which is a must see. It puts things in stark perspective.

After watching this, would you like to discuss the educational rut we are in in not only Bahrain but the whole Middle East? I have maintained that if we do not embrace this shift wholeheartedly then very soon the whole world will change our name to the Middle Ages, and quite deservedly too.

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  1. Global Voices Online » Blog Archive » Bahrain: On Education | 3 Apr, '07
  1. can we talk says:

    WOW. very powerful video. i thought i had a sense of things to come, but it is beyond what we can imagine. it sent shivers up my spine.
    I think it is means that we live in very exciting times, and it gives the term global village new meaning. it means we might even be living on other planets besides this one with even more opportunities. it means our kids should not be thinking about what kind of job they would like to do, but rather of how much useful skill and character they can accumulate so that they will be ready for these jobs that haven’t been invented yet.
    it means that even though the world has changed so much since our parents were born, it will change so much more and faster even during our own lifetimes.
    it means that while people quibble about sunni and shia, we shouldn’t talk about bahraini versus emirati, or even arabi versus ajnabi, but about being citizens of the world.
    very very exciting…truly something to look forward to..
    thanx so much for sharing that

  2. F says:

    Good presentation! 🙂

  3. Ash says:

    It’s a good video but it doesn’t factor in the truly seismic “shift” that is already underway: namely, climate change.

  4. Ethan says:

    Will we even survive this long?

    For as much as there are hopeful people who embrace such change, there is a growing regressive movement to stifle that change, strangle it, murder it in its bed in front of its children and return things to how they were in some mythic utopian time.

    And I’m not talking about Islamism.

    I mean the extremist anti-global-warming crowd. By all means, we should save the planet – but not by destroying human civilization.

  5. M says:

    “I think it is means that we live in very exciting times, and it gives the term global village new meaning. ”

    Global village, huh? It’s a good thing you have such a positive outlook on the future, and I hope it happens without more or prolonged suffering for people around the planet.

    I can remember my mother saying just wait until capitalism conquers the world and eventually it will even win over the Chinese; then real change will happen and people will become free. I have a feeling she was only seeing the positive side of things without fully understanding the implications for the rest of the world. Let’s hope we truly do become a global village.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Certainly an interesting Powerpoint… As a Western expat teaching here in Bahrain, it reminded me of how desperately kids here need to learn critical thinking skills. My guess is that this is due to a different cultural approach to learning… rote memorizaton of facts, instead of thinking about why things are the way they are. Unfortunately, rote memorization will be an almost completely useless skill in a digital information age, where facts can be recorded and retrieved easily… but all that data will need interpretation, which I’m guessing will require humans even in 50 years, let alone 20.
    For example, a computer isn’t likely to analyze the inherent problems with a statistic like “the daily New York Times contains more information than a person was likely to come across in a lifetime in the 18th century.” (define information… data points? not particularly compelling; define average person… globally? within a particular socio-economic group? A history major like myself has a hard time finding a place to start on why this is such a complete non sequitur.) Computers can crunch numbers, but people are needed for the abstract thinking that explains the point of the data.
    On the brighter side, this is good news for anyone with basic critical thinking skills and flexibility… if you’ve got that, you’re a good candidate for lots of jobs, now and in the future.

  7. Akbar says:

    Could anyone tell me the name of the music that played in the background?

    Nice presentation.

  8. Stephen says:

    I think the music is the main theme from the movie Last of the Mohicans. Perhaps another subtle point…

  9. Scott says:

    “Where is the wisdom that is lost in knowledge? Where is
    the knowledge that is lost in information?”

    Old Chinese quote. I forget who …

    Scott

  10. can we talk says:

    off-topic, here, but speaking of music and theme songs, does anyone know what is the music used in the TV commercial for the Dubai culture festival. it’s on ONE TV all the time, and i couldn’t find it in my search.

  11. Jay Jerome says:

    All things change; all things remain the same.

    We have more information and tools to manipulate the world, but oversee it with the same malevolent spirit our biological ancestors exhibited when they began slaughtering each other with rocks and sticks.

    Human nature hasn’t changed at all over time. Technology doesn’t affect it. Cramming mega or zeta bytes of info thru fibre optic strands won’t ‘shift’ the human spectrum an iota to the right or left of sanity. We’re a creepy species of murderers, thieves, rapists, war-mongers, deceivers, con artists, malcontents, bullies, pompous asses, blustering fools, tedious bores, malicious tyrants, and envious fools – and the few exceptions only prove the rule: that it’s easier to build an inter-planetary space ship than to unravel the mean-spirited nature of humankind.

    It’s in our genes to be disruptive and cruel: and all technology has done since we invented the wheel, really, is provide us with longer lives in which to exercise our murderous instincts over a wider swath of humanity. Every advance in science has been accompanied with a concomitant advance in weaponry; every aid to human comfort has seen an equal advancement in tools to enslave the human spirit: from bows & arrows to atomic-bombs; from whips to electric prods and electric chairs; from ears and eyes at keyholes to bugged phones and identity theft and ever-more sophisticated devices to penetrate our privacy and manipulate our wills and incarcerate us in tombs of confusion.

    To paraphrase the Italian poet Dante Alighieri, three sparks are kindled in all human hearts: pride, envy, and avarice. Add to that all the other deadly sins of stupidity that plague the human psyche and you still won’t reach the level of human malice and hatred that permeates the races of humanity on this planet. Adding to the flow of information won’t change that: in fact it probably makes it worse, since it easier for governments and religions and corporations to chose the facts they want to twist when there’s an almost infinite number of strands to support whatever fantasy of belief they want to weave. Science has already proven this: Chaos Theory tells us that the more information you add to a system, the more unstable it becomes.

    Future historians – if there are any – may designate these times as the Age Of Informational Anarchy – which will make the Middle Ages look like an idyllic romp in the woods in comparison.

  12. Capt. Arab says:

    Freaky !!!! but real

  13. Costa-Guy says:

    Crap.. we’re heading there in our own way . Look at Bahrain now and remember the structure, roads, system 5 years ago. Technology and any other advance in any field in Bahrain is used by the local worker, employee, consumer.

    Instead of getting impressed by a presentation and getting scared by such numbers, stop and begin developing yourself. That’s how the things goes.

  14. Costa-Guy says:

    thing*

  15. mahmood says:

    Jay, that is a rather pessimistic view of life, what do you propose then? Because the human is wired to be “bad” should we just give up and stay at home? Find a forest and live in seclusion?

    Of course not. The human being apart from possessing all the qualities you enumerate, also has the capacity to be kind and forgiving regardless of state or religious pressures; these too are wired into our make-up.

    I would rather recognise that yes, the pending advancement in the sciences and how they reflect on our lives will undoubtedly bring with it a downside, but I would rather think and hope that it is akin to opening a bottle of fizzy drink: initial chaos as the trapped gas escape, then you enjoy the drink you have just released.

  16. Jay Jerome says:

    I’m not a pessimist, Mahmood, I’m a realist. I’m not advising anyone to ‘give up’ — I’m just telling you the way the world works, so you can protect yourself accordingly.

    And, yes, humans have good traits as well as bad, but our capacity for evil far outweighs the good, because goodness comes in thimble-fulls, while human malevolence pours down like a broken water main.

  17. iDip says:

    I feel stupid 🙁

  18. Hussain ashoor says:

    umm with war and Greedy people , we can go back to the 18 th century, who know Nuclear bomb or war world 3 ??! naah just kidding but it could happens ,, there is many things true in that vedio and things that we touch it every day specially about the education now im going to the 3 year and almost everything i have taken on it we don’t use it these days, i don’t know what ganna happen to me after i graduate but im Optimistic guy so i hope for the peace and more development.

  19. can we talk says:

    humans have good traits as well as bad, but our capacity for evil far outweighs the good

    what a horrible place your world must be. my world is a much nicer place. there are evil people but they are few and far between and i don’t know that i’d even call them evil. but mostly there are a lot of decent nice people who are much more likely to do good than bad..

    maybe you should consider moving!!

  20. Jay Jerome says:

    what a horrible place your world must be. my world is a much nicer place

    And were you one of the subjects who told the naked Emperor how pretty his clothes were?

    And do you wear rose-colored glasses 24/7?

    And are you blind to what’s going on in your part of the world: Iraqis viciously murdering each other every day, blowing themselves and innocent men, women, and infants to bits in crowded public markets; and I’m sure those suicide bombers days before they turned themselves into human shrapnel acted with kindness, respect, and generosity to friends and family, offering a smile here, a caress there, a morsel of food to the family cat, some seeds to the pet bird.

    But all those small acts of kindness were obliterated in a hail of body-parts splattered across public markets and public streets: 50 dead; three times as many maimed. A daily occurrence, not only in Iraq, but throughout the world. Genocide in Darfur. Torture at Abu Ghraib Prison. Israelis bulldozing Palestinian family homes. Hezbollah aiming metal-filled bombs at civilian apartment buildings. The Chinese murdering Tibetan monks. The Taliban stoning women to death for adultery. Incas tearing out the living hearts of sacrificial prisoners. The Spanish Inquisition. Indian Massacres at Sand Creek and Wounded Knee. The Holocaust. Genocides against Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia, and against Armenians by Turks. The millions of Russians slaughtered by Stalin. The multi-millions killed in China by Mao. The indiscriminate murders of hundreds of thousands by Pakistanis in Bangladesh. The million or more Cambodians killed by the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. The gassing of the Kurds by Saddam. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    I’m sure in every one of these genocidal frenzies those who instigated and/or participated in those acts of brutality provided dollops of kindness to others, before and after committing them. But if you add up all those tiny bits of kindness they won’t equal the debit side of the human ledger — from the hapless victims at the Roman Coliseums, to the radioactive Japanese at Hiroshima and Nagasaki — the old adage is true: one rotten apple spoils the barrel.

    And our species, unfortunately, has a rotten core. And if it was possible to move ‘somewhere else’ (another planet or universe) that would only be a temporary solution, because base human nature will follow in its footsteps, like shadows under shoes.

  21. can we talk says:

    the things you mentioned are really horrible, but they are not actions of the majority of human beings, and the rest of us feel shock and outrage when we hear about them. if you were not a decent basically good person yourself, you would not be so disgusted by those acts. and if such occurrences were normal, you wouldn’t be able to make a list.

    i still think good outweighs evil.. yes the capacity for evil may lie dormant in all of us to some degree, but so does the capacity for good and it’s much closer to the surface..

    And do you wear rose-colored glasses 24/7?

    no, but it does help to find the good in people.

    And were you one of the subjects who told the naked Emperor how pretty his clothes were?

    no, but maybe he looked good naked and didn’t need clothes.. i’m thinking you are just having a bad hair day..

  22. Nicholas says:

    Don’t pay one fucking second of attention to this piece of crap. Whoever made this has a complete inability to think critically and has no grasp of statistics or world history. This scripts like the maker made a collage of Newsweek sound bites.

    Very quick and dirty analysis: This factoid film is beyond and extensively and extremely flawed.

    1) NO sources for any of the so called information are sorted. Biggest red flag for any thing you ever read. Be wary of this for anything you watch/read.

    2) The beginning numbers make no sense. “If you’re one in a million in China, there are 1300 people just like you.” What does that mean? that there are 1300 chinese per american? It’s bad writing, I can’t figure it out, but if that’s implying that I stated formerly, it’s way off. US pop ~300million, PRC pop ~ 1.2 billion, making a ratio of one to four.

    3) Where do they get this IQ information from China??? China is NOTORIOUS and it is widely known that they MAKE UP THEIR FUCKING STATISTICS. Even if they weren’t, are the IQ tests given to Chinese and Indian people equivalent to US IQ tests?

    4) China becoming #1 english speaking country in world: True. They have the largest population on the planet, and English is the international global language. No fucking surprise there.

    5) (Just a tidbit–any Dept. of Labor of stats come from… you guessed it… THE CENSUS BUREAU!!!! Census collects all the data and shits it out to ALL government department for them to present it)

    6) DOL says 10-14 jobs by age of 38: Does that mean 10-14 different companies? or 10-14 different POSITIONS within companies combined with changing firms?

    7) “We are currently preparing students for jobs that do not yet exist.” Who cares? that’s always been the case. You learn everything ON THE JOB. The purpose of the educational system in this company is to strip you of creativity and prepare you for a cubicle existence. To be less cynical (amazingly enough for me), it speaks of technologies that haven’t been invented yet. But these students are learning THE FOUNDATIONS AND BACKGROUNDS UPON THESE NEW TECHNOLOGIES WILL BE BUILT.

    8) Re England in 1900: Highest standard of living: blatantly false, unless you were part of the aristocracy. Vast majority of the population slaved in dangerous and horrible industrial labor conditions to serve the upper classes.

    9) “The US is 20th in Broadband Penetration.” The US is a HUGE country, with the vast majority of our population living on the two coasts. We have vast swaths of interior (Montana, Wyoming, etc) land and very sparsely populated area where it is not cost feasible (yet) to bring broadband to a rancher’s house who lives in an area with a population of one person per square mile. What do they expect? To line up a wire a hundred miles to one farm house? Luxembourg (asides from Andorra and other tiny countries) is a fucking tiny country. You can run the broadband from one building.

    10) “1 of 8 couples married met online” SOURCE??? HUH?? where is this INFO COMING FROM???

    11) 106 million users on myspace: a very large quantity of those users are fake (i.e. fans making pages of howard stern, their favorite cafes, bars, whatever).

    12) “540,000 words in English language.” Flat out WRONG. It is IMPOSSIBLE to count the words in an language. Slang and dialect are big reasons for this. What exactly constitutes an “english” word? Either way, I know for sure that while it’s impossible to say, the most respected experts in linguistics put the range around 800,000 to 1 Million words.

    13) Re: NY Times: A huge amount of space of the NY Times includes advertisements, for rent and for sale ads, pictures, etc. What defines information? Cannot information in the 17th century be received outside written words? This statement makes no sense and is in my opinion ridiculous.

    14) Re: technological info doubling every 2 years: Wrong. The writer is referring to Moore’s law, not the same. Anyway, this does NOT mean that the info learned two year before would be obsolete, for it is necessary to understand what is coming out now. Back in the day, I had to learn how to use basic before the first windows came out.

    15) “E-paper cheaper than real paper” What the fuck does that mean? That looking at a computer screen is cheaper than going through the arduous process of logging, processing, milling, pressing, printing? Who would have thought?

    16) Re: 2013 supercomputer exceeding computational ability of human brain: STUPID. Computers 20 years ago could do that. Can you multiply 159,321,058 X 182,044,100 in your head? A computer in 1987 could. Computers in 1987 ran the THE ENTIRE FUCKING NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE.

    17) Re: by 2023 computers will exceed capabilities of human brain: HUH? what capabilities? Emotional? Creativity? Learning? Consciousness? This statement is nonsensical.

    18) See #17

  23. victoria says:

    I agree with every thing you said Nicholas except the ´F`expletives… shame about that.

    I nodded off after the first 30 seconds of this presentation as it laboured on without any direction or focus… great music though !!

    Vic

  24. Abdulkarim says:

    Very powerful presentation. Aren’t we lucky to be alive in such times?

    England was indeed the richest country on earth at the start of 19th centrury. The fact that there was so much poverty does not change that. Poverty was more widespread in other countries. There was no welfare state then too.

    As for the music I think it came from Riverdance of Irish fame but I can not be sure.

  25. Alfie says:

    Basically this is the worst critique of shift happens ive ever seen i do admit it may be a bit rough in its interpretation but great music and his enthuastic personality shows in this spine tingling presentation about the future. A few things to think about. You state you dont understand the first point it basically means if your one in million (you have a condition that affects one in a million) there,s 1,300 people with the same condition as you. Another thing i take it your American and don’t understand how ENGLISH is measured in its entity it is measured using the Oxford English Dictionary. This book has all words that a used common enough to be part of the english language and it is now just over 540,000 words also because of your blindly nationalistic views you don’t believe that the UK has the best economy in 1900. You tell us all that there is no sources to back up some claims i don’t see your factual evidence that would compliment your opinianated tripe. You say ” Balatantly False” Why don’t you prove it bisniatch. Also with regards to Internet Penetration you say other countries are smaller your country is one huge country and with the amount of taxes more that people pay in comparable with andorra is amazing. You are looking at a at a tiny perspective one which you believe is best and one where you don’t take in to account anything else. You say the majority of myspace accounts are fake and if you have myspace which you probably don’t they delete accounts unactive over a small period so only maybe 1million will be fake. Also the calculator has been around much before 1987 you demic. Just a few pointers on your critique of this very helpful insight into what may happen in future years. Lastly your a grown man i am at school and i can tell you need to get laid lose weight get a hobby an enjoyable job and put your roughly accurate critic skills to the test.

  26. Alfie says:

    Thats in regards to Nicholas’ comment 😛

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