Thursday, 27 September 2007

Nerds Shall Inherit the Earth

Douglas Coupland, back when he wrote Microserfs, said that "nerds will inherit the earth". A "Revenge of the Nerds", much larger than that in the 80s movie by the same name, is knocking on our collective door, while the door is already open.

It's amazing that people today don't realise how much the Internet has changed our lives. From wikipedia to music or tv series downloads, from instant messaging (much more practical than BBS chatting) to Photoshop online tutorials. And, naturally, the list goes on and on and on. There's a breathtaking overabundance of information, a Library of Alexandria V2.0 right in the middle of our living room - or bedroom, or study, or wherever you keep your PC. And not only that, it can travel with you through your cellphone or your portable gaming console. Cool, huh?

With this overabundance of information, you still don't need to know "everything". But you need to know much, much more than you used to. You could get along just fine 100 years ago if you didn't know how to read, but today, if you don't know how to make an effective google search, you're practically useless, socially speaking. And 100 years aren't that long a time period. There's people who've lived for more.

So you have this informational overload, this quest for constant innovation - with new, impressive inventions and discoveries popping up like mushrooms, on the technological level, the scientific level, or the mass market, or even the Internet itself - and this tendency for "wrap everything up in a pretty-looking box" postmodern approach to creativity. Who is mentally equipped to deal with it? Take a typical teen movie as an example, and look at all the faces. Look at the jocks, the popular trendy girls, the cool and witty "rebels" at the back of the classroom, and the nerdy, quirky-looking kid with glasses, whom nobody's really talked to and whose grade point average is higher than your IQ.

Yup, you guessed it, he's the one. The nerd. He's going to be the next prized asset for any innovative group - whether it's a software company or a biochemistry lab. Or even the team that develops the physics for your favourite new computer game, or the team of scientific consultants for the next sci fi blockbuster film. So yeah, for the future of the world, he'll amount to more than you will, chances are.

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