Signs of the Times - February 2013 - (Page 16)
Darek Johnson is ST’s Senior Technology Editor/Analyst.
Email him at email@example.com
By Darek Johnson
Is Technology Causing Us to Evolutionarily Regress?
Maybe, but don’t forget Wal-Mart.
“Tomorrow is the most important
thing in life. [It] comes into us at
midnight very clean. It’s perfect
when it arrives and puts itself in
our hands. It hopes we’ve learned
something from yesterday.”
– John Wayne
Playboy magazine interview,1971
A recent– Smithsonian magazine
headline “Are Humans Getting
Intellectually and Emotionally Stupid?”
– certainly catches your interest.
The magazine reported on the
topic in its November 2012 edition.
In part, the Smithsonian said, “The
intricate web of genes that endows
us with our brain power is particularly susceptible to mutations, and
at the same time, our Snookie and
Real Housewives-ridden society isn’t
selecting against those deleterious
Whether you’re a Darwin fan or
not, you can see an underlying reality
behind the question, especially if
you’ve glimpsed any of cable-TV’s
Friday-night vampire movies or
driven on inner-city freeways.
Smithsonian’s report was based
upon a “Trends in Genetics” article
published in the Cell Press journal.
There, Stanford University’s Dr.
Gerald Crabtree argued that the
“…combination of less-selective
pressure and the large number of
easily affected genes is eroding our
intellectual and emotional capabilities.”
Crabtree suggested we might be
evolutionarily regressing to a more
dumb state, compared to our
ancestors. He said our high intelligence might not be as stable as
we believe. He said it isn’t easy to
be smart (the process requires real
work). He also delineated that early
man required – and built – human
intelligence by surviving a primitive
world while outwitting both enemies
and dangerous predators – although,
the same statement could also
apply to Arkansas Valley raccoons.
The report said human-intelligence
expansion may have peaked and
could now be declining. It may
now reside on the backside of the
anthropological bell curve. Crabtree
declared, however, that the loss is
quite slow, and future technologies
are bound to reveal solutions.
Certainly, evidence of diminishing
intelligence is abundant, but this
column isn’t about Congress. It’s
about an electronic, Internet-based,
wireless future that may be someday
run by Millennial Generation populace, aka the “Y” or Always-Online
(AO) generation – today’s mobile-
RadTech Forms LED/UV-cure Group
RadTech (Bethesda, MD), the Assn. for UV and EB Technologies, has
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UV-cure (LED/UV-cure) technologies. RadTech believes industrial-grade,
LED/UV-cure systems will become increasingly essential in radiationcure applications and wants to promote the development and integration
of such technology into everyday manufacturing processes. The group
will also support the development of credible information on related
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and new applications, for example. RadTech welcomes participation; it
said the committee would soon survey and identify membership needs.
The first meeting will occur on Thursday, February 28, alongside uv.eb
WEST 2013: Advanced Materials Symposium, at the Redondo Beach, CA
Crowne Plaza Hotel and Marina.
(240) 643-0517; www.radtech.org; www.uvebwest.com
16 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / FEBRUARY 2013 / www.signweb.com
Roughly defined, the Millennial/
AO generation comprises optimists.
They follow a cynical Generation X,
which follows idealistic Baby Boomers who succeeded the pragmatic
Related to Crabtree’s report, albeit
distantly, is the 2011 Pew Research
Center Internet and American Life
Project that asked various world
specialists their viewpoints on the
Millennial generation’s inevitable
domination of world affairs and
business operations. Meaning, these
kids will eventually grow up and
run things, just as the cynical Generation Xers are doing now. Elon
University’s Imagining the Internet
Center helped with the survey.
Pew designed the research to
capture people’s expectations for
the Internet future, and, in the
process, present a snapshot of
The project garnered interesting
replies. Reminiscent of the nation’s
voters, the surveyed experts were
almost evenly divided. Generally,
they remained middle-of-the-road
and said the Millennials’ hyperconnected lifestyle was both good
and bad news.
Some agreed that networked
youngsters who see the Internet as
an external brain would become
nimble analysts and decisionmakers.
Others said the same factors could
create instant-gratification addicts.
The latter seemed to fear an Orwellian
future where powerful interest
groups would electronically control
the population. One process could
be through entertaining distractions.
It’s not a new idea. In his 1970
science-fiction book, Ringworld,
writer Larry Niven introduced a “Tasp”
weapon that induced pleasure from
a distance. Because it disabled an
opponent via a distracting blast of
pleasure, he depicted it as an ultimate
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - February 2013
Signs of the Times - February 2013
Sign Museum News
Dressed to Impress
Uniqlo’s In-store Digital Signage
Pursuing a Different Rout
Word on the Street Signs
Signs of the Times - February 2013