From cave paintings to 5G

Technology and Tools

Technology’s humble beginnings go back around 2.6 million years ago, when human-like species in East Africa made and used the first sharp-edged stone tools in order to kill and skin animals. Spanning past those 2.6 million years, multipurpose hammer-stones, hand-axes, wooden spears, bone, ivory, antler and finally bronze tolls were used to allow human-like and human species to protect themselves, hunt and eat, while in the background the natural process of evolution was taking it’s course.

Over the course of centuries that followed, human’s tool-making ability continued to evolve and with the help of mathematical and scientific theory combined, more and more sophisticated tools were created, better houses were built, bigger cities came in to view while human civilization flourished. Fast forward, the industrial revolution was the movement away from the slow and costly production of tools by hand to the use of machines and inanimate power. So, in less than a century we filled our new modern life with electricity, electrical devices, cars, Internet, personal computers, electronic devices and Wi-Fi, producing in parallel every kind of tool for our tool-men so they could fix everything. Now, after building a plethora of tools for years, we are entering a new era trying to connect everything to the Internet.

Connectivity

Connecting everything to the Internet — a big challenge for many IT startups embarking on their journey towards the 4th industrial revolution — is not just about a new business plan/model trying to make it in to the wild market. It’s about evolution of the human species. Connectivity, the state of being connected or interconnected, appeared in our human physical reality hundreds of years ago and co-evolved with our communication tools since then. Proto-connectivity between humans laid stronger foundations 500.000 years ago when proto-speech was originated and since then remained with us while we were making cave paintings, writing the Kish tablet, using the phone and now using Skype. That is, that the more we communicated with each other the more we connected. In nature, the process whereby a group of previously independent parts become stably integrated (and connected) into a new functional and indivisible evolutionary unit, requires the evolution of cooperative and altruistic behaviors during division of labor and reorganization of habits. Put the matter another way, at the core of connectivity evolution has hidden for us cooperation and altruism, which would eventually give us “archiving” of everything making our system more efficient and more intelligent with better chances of surviving.

Throughout history, connectivity and prosperity have been intrinsically linked. From early road systems to railroads and telephone lines, wherever infrastructure has existed to connect people, communities have thrived. Before Internet, connectivity in our world moved very slowly e.g. the pigeon post or the war pigeon used for sending messages, a method of communication that it is likely as old as the ancient Persians. But now with the advent of Internet, connectivity is moving faster and faster e.g. from text messages carried by 2G networks in 1991 to the upcoming 5G networks full-fiber broadband and satellite Internet technology. So, in an astonishingly short space of time, our ability to communicate and access information has changed beyond all recognition. Internet connectivity has supercharged global connectivity and has transformed the way people connect to each other, becoming vital to the way businesses organize themselves and sell their products and services. In the other words, Internet connectivity has proven to be one of the most profound enablers of social change and economic growth of our time, empowering people and businesses to operate more efficiently and with wider reach.

Epilogue

That first tool ever made — around 2.6 millions years ago — marked and accelerated human’s “natural intelligence” process, inasmuch human-like species and tools started to “co-evolve” in response to their changing environment. That moment in history, a never-ending symbiotic relationship began between those two that would eventually give birth after millions of years to the “machine intelligence” process. That is to say, we emerged as humans by making tools and ”learning” from our tools, and now we are allowing our tools (e.g. Sophia the robot) “to learn” from us.

Without knowing it — and during the very slow running natural process of evolution — nature has given us all the instructions on how to build tools in order to survive, connect with each other and continue to evolve. All these instructions of all human-tool interaction and connectivity have been encoded in to our DNA. Everything on these instructions is telling us now that in order to continue to survive and evolve we have to connect to the Internet every single thing in our planet. For those who are skeptical, Internet connectivity is already encoded in the DNA of all animals, and started 700 or 800 million years ago when life on earth transitioned from unicellularity to multicellularity. In that moment, life just got more complicated, while groups of cells connected to each other leading to more intelligent organisms with a nervous system. Right now, thanks to the Internet connectivity humanity is gaining its own nervous system. In the end life is just a never-ending pattern.