Is the Internet ushering in a New Renaissance?

Is the Internet ushering in a New Renaissance? Caught a fascinating CBC interview with author Chris Kutarna. In his new book (co-written with Ian Goldin – Professor of Globalization & Development at Oxford University) Age of Discovery: Navigating the Risks and Rewards of Our New Renaissance, he postulates that “Now is the best moment in history to be alive, but we have never felt more anxious or divided. Human health, aggregate wealth, and education are flourishing. Scientific discovery is racing forward. But the same global flows of trade, capital, people and ideas that make gains possible for some people deliver big losses to others – and make us all more vulnerable to one another.”

He goes on to draw comparisons between the advent of the printing press and the internet. And one question hit squarely in our omnichannel wheelhouse – where human advancement is concerned, which has had the greater impact on humankind?

Kutarna says: “so far it’s probably been the Gutenberg printing press, but in the long run it’s going to be the internet and digitization. The comparison is really remarkable. One of the things that both these information revolutions share is speed. If you think back to a world when you had to go to a public library to look up the capital of a country, that seems so long ago… but that was at least within my lifetime. So the internet, like the printing press before it, has rapidly changed the information environment we live in, and our expectations for information. But long term, I have to believe it’s going to have a much bigger impact than the printing press (which many scholars and historians looking back on the last millennium have identified as the most important invention of humanity’s second millennium).”

The time period in which we now live is exhilarating… we benefit from the mixing and mingling of two of the most powerful knowledge transfer mechanisms known to man – print AND digital. I agree with Kutarna’s many positive conclusions – this is the best time in history to be alive as we have 3 billion ‘literate’ brains in the world today that can tap into our global network, resulting in tremendously positive consequences for science, creativity, and beyond. For a deeper dive into Kutarna’s thinking, check out these links:

CBC – What the Renaissance can teach us about our disruptive age

From the internet to smartphones, the financial crisis to the refugee crisis, Donald Trump to Brexit, author Chris Kutarna believes the forces shaping our world today have been seen before — about 500 years ago.

CBC – Are we living in the age of the 2nd Renaissance? | Part 2

The scope of Kutarna’s book is vast, and he joined Tremonti again to hear more about some of the parallels he sees between the world today, and the world of the first Renaissance.

The Guardian – We’re living in an age full of possibilities. So why do so many of us feel like losers?

In a landmark new book Ian Goldin and Chris Kutarna argue that the dizzying pace of change in every aspect of life, from health to education to technology, can provide for a golden age, as long as the gains are evenly spread.

Michael Chase, CMO
St. Joseph Communications

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Posted on September 19, 2016 in Leadership, Technology, Trends

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About the Author

Michael Chase - a true hybrid – part strategist, part data monkey, part creative director, part global growth hacker (when you're doing bic pen tracheotomies you still have to think of EBITDA) and through and through an innovator.

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