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Tech literacy as a must-have – yes or no?

Can you imagine your life without technology? Seems hard, as today it is a crucial part of our life. For most of us technology, and the Internet in particular, is a tool of communication, sharing information, studying, work and even shopping. But is there something more that a regular person can get out of it? Should we try to explore this area more? Turing Society’s answer is a definite yes.

Turing Society is a non-profit organization, that wants to teach you how to easily solve problems through technology and use it to your own benefits. They are aiming to create a community of non-tech background students, teach them tech literacy, encourage mutual help and learning and connect with other bright and interesting people in the field.

Rostra had a pleasure to visit one of the events held by the Turing Society in Amsterdam – TuringX. The main topic of the talk was the answer to a seemingly obvious question – why technological literacy is a must-have in our modern society?

Peoples’ mind and way of thinking are changing, however, most of the people are still afraid of technology– said Teodor Cataniciu, social entrepreneur, co-founder and chairman of Turing Global, and the first speaker at the conference. A good example of people not believing in technology can be seen in 1995 article in Newsweek, where Internet was called a fail.

Technology is not growing linear anymore, now, it is experiencing exponential growth, meaning that, the better the new product is, the faster it will grow and develop, being proportional to the current value of it. For example, for the same price in the past, you would get a computer with much slower speed and fewer functions. Basically, technology is changing so fast, that the products we have been using used 2-3 years ago already seem to be outdated. More and more questions can be answered and problems are solved by simply opening your laptop. So why should we wait for others to do it for us? Why should we wait for something good to be invented, when we can create it ourselves?

The quote that Teodor and our next speaker used describes really well the main idea of this lecture:

“The best way to predict the future is to create it ourselves” (P. Drucker).

The second speaker, Dennis Tan – a CEO and co-founder of Dashmote – called our times “The age of technology” and gave several reasons to back it up. First of all, he believes that everyone has an impact and can change the world. Comparing to the past, where people mostly provided only for themselves, this generation more and more often asks the question – What am I doing and how am I contributing to the society? What can I give to the world? Moreover, he mentioned a “tech wave”. The term tech wave applies to the technology development, which started with increasing computer power, goes to Internet of things, artificial intelligence and in the end to robotics. All of these technology aspects appeared not so long ago, like 5-7 years, and are still developing. So technology can be divided into current, that people are using now, and in progress, the one still not used on daily basis (like nanotechnology). Finally, he claimed that we are now in a so-called “transformational time”, where we are searching for new, more efficient ways of doing the same things. Think about Instagram. Maybe 10 years ago you would gather all your friends and show them pictures in your photo-album, printed. Now, you can share and create your own “photo-album” online through this app or any other social media channel you use. In all corporations, digital capabilities are crucial in increasing profits of the company, as it allows them to keep be up to date and innovative.

The next speaker – Jesse van Leth, a technical evangelist at Microsoft, shared his view on what to expect from the tech future and what fields of technology will be in demand. He started with saying that before people were asking “what if…” questions like What if we are able to fly to new countries? What if we could communicate without actually seeing each other? Nowadays, we are asking ourselves another question – “what’s next”?

Jesse claims that solutions to tomorrow problems started way before, around 15 years ago. The main advantage of you as a firm is the ability to look in the future and make products that can be moved forward and changed for the future. People do not know that they need your offer until you just give it to them, so predicting peoples’ future needs is an important part of doing business. Also, in order to imply innovative idea you have to have only two things – right people and the right environment. An interesting fact, that Instagram has only 13 employees. As you can see, best innovations and ideas can be created not only in large corporations but in a right group of people, as mentioned above. Another thing to keep in mind, while suggesting your innovation to the world is that everything was already thought of before, someone probably already tried what you want to do, but just lacked something. According to Jesse, Innovation and technology face three main problems: limits of time, limits of humankind and limits of computation. Not everything you have in mind can be actually created, at least not now. As a new trend, Jesse says that we will go from having visible things to invisible, which, in fact, already started. Just think of the lamp that you can switch on by clapping, or of the new iPhone headphones, where there is no wire.

Summing up, technology can be a key to solving many problems. In our fast-changing world, it is important to stay updated on all the innovations and imply some of them to your life, as it definitely makes it easier. Moreover, technology can be used not only in our regular life but also if we want to start a company, share our idea with the world or improve the business we already have.

Among other events, Turing Society offers Coding hour, Exponential workshops and the Bootcamp. Information about the events and application deadlines can be found on the website or on the facebook page of Turing society. Turing team tries to convince you that technology can be easy and approachable for everyone. Well, we can believe them, but we can as well try ourselves.


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