Highlights on Education Technology Summit, 5th of March 2022
Şila Yosulçay Uz
Akan Abdula, the Founder at Future Bright Group of Companies and the author of "Öngörülemeyenler" gave a very informative and enlightening speech in the education technology summit which took place online on 5th of March 2022.
Akan Abdula started his speech by elaborating on “the age of outcome” put forward by Winston Churchill. Churchill claimed that we have come to the end of procrastination and soothing remedies. According to him, we will either be the ones affecting the outcome or being shaped by it. Abdula gives the example of a crocodile to clarify what Churchill means. He says there is a crocodile trying to gobble us up but we throw our supplies to it in an attempt to keep it away. However, we know that we will run out supplies and will be eaten by the crocodile that we helped to fatten up in the end. Instead of procrastinating the inevitable end, we should do something to deactivate the crocodile now. This crocodile analogy shows us how we need to interpret and evaluate the age of digital transformation we are undergoing according to Abdula.
Abdula stated that the pandemic has sped up this digital transformation by almost six years. Normally 40 % of our lives is being transformed into digital data and being processed, however this will move up to 60 % soon. He claimed that we are on the verge of Internet 4.0 for this reason and moving towards a very integrated and connected world. At the moment even though Russia closed the internet infrastructure, Ukranians can still send tweets and use social media because Elon Musk uses Starlink and launches satellites in to the Earth’s orbit. This may help people access social media but may result in an infrastructure not being able to be controlled by governments or institutions in the future which may threaten us all in an environment where all our digital footprints are controlled and processed.
Abdula added that in the future the data will be so big to process that people will lack the technology to process it which will result in the quantum age. The quantum age will bring forth the quantum computers which multinational corporations are investing in at the moment. These computers will be able to run multiple processes at very high speeds. This is what the future holds according to Abdula however when we specifically focus on Turkey Abdula says we are urbanizing at a very fast rate but the agricultural areas are shrinking. The micro families are increasing meaning we are alienating from each other that results in more technology use and more data being processed in the end. Abdula then focuses on how Turkish people feel and claims 79 % of people claim to be very stressful and specifically women aged between 40-49 are the least happy. He says 12 million people are on antidepressants and this number is on the rise due to the pandemic.
Abdula then moves on and explains the echo chambers. He alleges when young people are asked why they open social media accounts, most people claim they do it to be and feel freer as they can express themselves for who they really are. However, Abdula states the social media algorithms never let you be free but will limit your exposure to different perspectives and instead favor the encounter of information and opinions of like-minded users resulting in a shared narrative. He says this is called “echo chambers” and the only thing you are actually exposed to in social media is your echo. Abdula claims this shared narrative and like mindedness may make you feel more comfortable and as a result encourages you to consume more. People do not challenge your opinions or disagree with you on social media for this reason, however you may lose your ability to emphatize with others and your emotional intelligence may regress in a world where everybody agrees with you.
Abdula pointed out that Jack Ma’ya the founder of Alibaba claimed that it is not coding that will differentiate you from artificial intelligence as robots will outperform you in terms of coding as they don’t need sleep and can learn how to code much faster than human beings. However, what will differentiate human beings from robots is emotional intelligence. This is our superpower according to Ma’ya. For this reason people should be involved in different disciplines such as art, history and sharpen their emotional intelligence by being exposed to different patterns to ask the right questions. Abdula stated the information hasn’t democratized unlike many people thought but we need to pay more effort to reach accurate information. This is why, we need a multi-disciplinary and more integrated approach to survive and succeed in this digital world. To exemplify this, Abdula says when we look at the Nobel prize winners in the field of economy, most Nobel winners are not economists. Abdula also mentions that empathy can be learned and improved but for that we need to be exposed to different views and disciplines and learn to appreciate and respect them.