THE NEXT BILLION SECONDS
My forthcoming book, written with Robert Tercek, all about how hyperconnectivity is changing us into something else.
From the Introduction:
Imagine that we sit at the center point of a long line, measured out in seconds. This line, a billion seconds long, stretches back to the year 1995, and into the future of 2026. Traveling backward along that line to its origin, we arrive in the last decade of the 20th century. That world, in its physical elements, nearly perfectly resembles the world we see around us today. Not much has changed over the past half-billion seconds, save in a few fast-growing cities, like Shanghai or Hyderabad.
In the world of 1995, people may have heard of the World Wide Web, but not many have used it. Internet access is still expensive and somewhat rare. Of a world population of greater than 6 billion, perhaps one percent, or sixty million, regularly use the Internet. Roughly the same number would be using mobiles.
Now travel that line back to the present moment. Beneath that seemingly stable physical veneer, everything has transformed. The world has come together, every part connected to every other part. Of a global population nearing seven billion, over two billion regularly use the Internet. In 1999 half the world had never made a telephone call. Today, five and a half billion own a mobile phone.
Suddenly, we live in a world, where everyone is connected. Both unexpected and entirely predictable, this hyperconnectivity is already changing everything about our lives, our work and our culture. Connectivity changes us from the inside out. It has not yet changed the shape of our cities or the architecture of our homes, but the internal landscape of our lives – how we think, feel and behave – has begun to reflect this new, connected awareness of ourselves.
Moving forward on this line, a half billion seconds into the future, we inhabit a world where being human and being connected have become synonymous. Connecting, tomorrow, will be as essential and innate as language is for us, today: once we learn how to connect, that ability will remain with us, a constant feature of our lives, framing and shaping all of our experience, just as language does.
This book is about the billion seconds between our disconnected and fragmented past and a future nearly already present, where we always act from the sure knowledge that we are completely connected with seven billion others.
[ Book website ]