Ray Kurtzweil thinks humans will be able to build a computer more powerful than a brain around 2025-2030.

What is a brain ? Billions of neutrons all connected to create billions more connections between them.

Current estimations number neurons in a typical brain at 86 billions. And as many non-neuronal cells. Overall, less than in a typical primate’s brain.

What distinguished us form these noble primates ?

Well, for one, technology.

And two, the level of social interactions. Aided by technology for the last few decades.

Technology has always pushed the human race forward. Technology is adopted at an ever increasing pace.

The printing press is one technology that has dramatically shrank the world. Information allowed us to re-think our role in the universe. Information changed our view of the world. But it moved slowly at first.

The telegraph, the radio and closer to us the television, increased the speed at which we could interact with the world. As each technology develops, its adoption rate is shortened. From the invention of electricity in the 1873, to the telephone three years later, followed by the radio and television in 1897 and 1926 to the more « modern » technologies such as the PC in 1975, the mobile phone in 1983 (a mastodon in those days!) and finally the web in 1991. Astonishingly, only 7 years were necessary for 25% adoption rate.

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Data taken from the downloadable Excel spreadsheet on


Technology is moving so fast in fact that our brain just cannot follow.

Well, at least mine.


I remember my first encounter with a fax machine, in 1989.

My boss asked me to “fax” my analysis results. At the time, I was a molecular biologist (still am but I stopped practicing my DNA fingerprint stunts!). I therefore printed my most recent yeast DNA fingerprint and walked toward the “fax” machine. I looked at the whole contraption, asked a few smart sounding questions (huh?) to the administrative assistant and realized rapidly that I was not prepared enough…. went back to my office and photocopied my report to send THAT copy to my boss. Hey, I did not want to look foolish in front of my colleagues!

Only when the “copy” was eaten up by the fax machine and was then rolled back out, did I realize that I had mistakenly misidentified the device: this was a FAX machine and NOT a teleportation pod.

I stopped making copies of my “to-be-faxed” reports thereafter.

Pfff… silly young molecular biologist.

A few weeks later, still excited about the fact that I did not have to mail my report or, worse, drive to the head office to hand it in, I was now quite comfortable with the fax. I almost gave it a nickname FF… fast fax. Hey, hey… we had quite a relationship going on there !

I thought I was quite smart, using this fax machine. The future was in my hands!

Or so I thought.

The future might have been in my hands, it was not in my brain!

I realized this a few days later when I was talking with a friend and I almost, almost offered to fax him 20 dollars to pay for a concert ticket.

Offered to fax 20 bucks. Oh, yes. Forget about fake dollar bills, the fax would wipe counterfeit activity from the face of the earth. Yeah right.

New technology appears faster than our brain can adapt to it.


How long did it take for you to stop buying CD in favour of downloading (legally or not)? It took me quite a while. In fact, I still prefer buying CD to downloading. My two sons (18 and 23) think I am crazy, especially with the advent of subscription services (circa 2014-2015) where I could have access to zillions of track for 10$/month.


Ah…. here is the catch. Technology allows us to access all this whereas the XXth century old-fashion way of thinking promoted the possession of things. Going from POSSESS to ACCESS makes a lot of sense.

But not for me.

I still long for those HUGE album covers that vinyls provided. Ah, to touch, see and (yes smell) those huge images, right there in my hands.

I still like to touch the CD. Insert it in my CD player, or portable CD player, or CD drive on the computer.

I still love to look at the art. Heck, I even buy special editions of some albums that include real hardcover books and the whole gimmick.

I understand the technology. Some of my clients think I am a geek, always trying the new stuff. And I am! I am connected to social media, Evernote as a personal LMS, Twitter and what have you.

And I do not fax dollar bills anymore.

But I asked my wife to download some wine at the restaurant the other night….

Ah well…


But then, here is the trick….I have connections, lots of them. My wife is one of them. So are you, dear readers.

And much like the brain, our connection with colleagues, acquaintances and friends increase our power.

I might have problems understanding that the fax is not a teleportation device but my friends will help me get thought this …fast! OR I will live with the shame for the very long next dinner with them. Hey, they are here to help!

Technology will always move a lot faster than our capacity to adapt to it.

We are getting better at this and our network is a part of it.

How many friends do you have on social networks ? How fast do they tell you about the latest “thing”, be it a new game, a new app or a new device ? How much more rapidly do you watch the latest news about whathaveyou in some god-forsaken place?

How fast to get wiser ?

Yes. Wiser.

Forget about the gazillions feline-related activities videos on YouTube and the pseudo scientific discoveries of these weird sect-like groups all around the world (hey, just this morning, a psychic sent me an email, a very personalized email with MY OWN VERY PERSONAL tarot reading…bien sûr!)

Forget about the stupid comment on Facebook about the latest gastrointestinal inducing movement of this new vegetarian diet….

Social networks ARE making us wiser. Slowly but surely.
Very slowly…


The brain is 50 % neutrons and 50 % non-neuron cells, the latter helping the neurons make connections, faster, more efficiently. Think of them as the technological support to make the connections between the neurons.

Now think about your network as the lever to make your brain functions better. Your networks will help you produce more synapses between your brain cells. They will help you connect the dots…quite literally.


Ray Kurzweil predicts that we will build a supercomputer capable of hosting a full human conscience by 2030 (give or take a few weeks).

Pfff…. why bother with this ?

We already have the Web with its billions of connections, its billions of sources of information and our very own processor to prevent the information overload associated with it : our very own personal knowledge network !

I might not be able to download some wine anytime soon but chances are, one of my social network contacts has the very one bottle I need right now and who knows, he or she might be willing to share it with me…tonight !!

I might not possess it but I can access it.

Profound paradigm shift. We do not need to possess information anymore. But we really need to know how to access it. This is the future.

We need to understand this.

Access, not possess.



© Copyrighted material Aliter Concept 2015. Please do not print or copy without permission from the author.

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