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Humanity VS Technology: 21st Century Skills

3 Min Read
November 07, 2022


Albert Einstein and his e = mc2

Everybody knows Albert Einstein. Yes! He was THE famous theoretical physicist. He introduced the special theory of relativity, discovered the famous equation: e = mc2. He also held an instrumental role in the development of atomic bomb during the World War II. E = mc2 means that a small amount of matter can release a large amount of energy. The principle of this equation was later applied in the development of the atomic bomb. One of the atomic bombs that materialized during World War II was the “Little Boy,” which was dropped by the U.S. on Hiroshima, Japan. There were 150,000 casualties estimated. It was only 3 m in height and 71 cm in diameter, but had a blast yield of approximately 63 TJ (that's terajoule if you're wondering what TJ is), which is equivalent to 15 kilotons of TNT!! This is one concrete example of the e = mc2 principle.  

It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity"– Albert Einstein

What does his quote actually mean at that time? One thing for sure, he was referring technology to the atomic bombs dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The fact that his discovery, which was supposed to be used to help people, was used to materialize weapons of mass destruction, was devastating for him. Einstein may have said what he said for two possible purposes. The first possibility being he could just be venting his anger and disappointment, seeing how technology has turn its back on humanity through pure destruction. Second, it is possible that he wanted to warn the people at the time, as well as those in the younger generation, about the danger of technology if we are not well equipped to handle it.  

It's a face-paced world now

In this 21st century, advancement in technologies is more evident than ever. It is moving faster than we can comprehend. Examples are smartphones, internet, social media platforms, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, etc. These technologies have, somewhat, become a necessity to us. They help with all range of work that we used to do manually. They help from the simplest task like cleaning the floor (robot vacuum) to the most complicated ones like manufacturing cars (automated assembly line). Consequently, thanks to technologies, we can get things done much faster, and now we are living in a fast-paced world. In this kind of world, the lifestyle, culture, workplace, economy, and even politic will continuously change. The rate of change due to technology is moving at an exponential rate. This means that the pace approximately doubles every two years. The pace of technological changes in the 21st century is moving forward very rapidly. There lies a possibility where there will be no differences between human and technology in years to come. This will be when Einstein's quote has come true in our time. However, this is not inevitable. We can change the way we think. Instead of letting our guards down on technology and let this difference to get closer together, we need to be alert. We need to start thinking of improving ourselves so that we can become adaptable to the fast-changing technology.

The beginning of 21st century skills

Now the question is how do we do that? It is by learning how to learn, expanding our horizons, and always look at things from different perspectives. We need to be able to think critically, analytically, and creatively, to solve problems effectively and efficiently. We also need to maintain human-to-human interaction by learning to communicate effectively and collaborate with people from different backgrounds. It is also crucial to maintain our personal and professional ethics. These essential skills are the “21st century skills.” We should obtain the “21st century skills” in order to be able to keep check of the fast-moving technological change and compete with each other (positively) to improve humanity.