IdeaFestival 2014: Complementing the Computer

By: Jordan Cornett

Sometimes I wonder what my grandkids will find the most ridiculous about my life. I used to laugh when my grandma told me stories that involved her one-cent gum or the first time she saw a television. Then I remember I had dial-up Internet and my first “cell-phone” was the size of a brick that doubled as a walkie-talkie. Laugh away, hypothetical grandchildren.


Kentucky Coders teach attendees how to code their own website.

This morning at IdeaFestival, my mind was pushed to the limits once again as George Mason University economist and author Tyler Cowen explained the implications of the technology driven world we now find ourselves in.

Cowen pointed out that, unlike those born in the 20th century who saw amazing advances across all sectors, today’s generation has experienced the greatest change in one sector- technology.

“Average is over,” said Cowen. “Technology drives and measures everything. Only the best succeed.”

The last few years have proved his theory as statistics show the median-income household is no longer making gains like they once did in line with the GDP. This is due to the fact that most areas that were once experiencing quick progress, such as transportation, have stopped. Those who are high-earners today are riding the technology sector, which has not its stopped progress.

I quickly realized during Cowen’s presentation that staying up-to-date with technological advances isn’t just “cool”; it is vital to be successful in America’s near-future economy.

“But not everyone can be computer programmers,” I thought. “I’m certainly not. What does this mean for my future?”

Luckily, Cowen had the answer.

“Marketing and persuasion combined with a basic knowledge of computers is the formula to an economic future,” said Cowen.

Computers do just about everything for us today and will continue to do more and more. Still, there are some things they won’t ever be able to do. They can’t charm. They can’t persuade. They can’t market themselves.

So if you are a computer genius, stick with it! If not, then a fundamental knowledge of technology as well as humanities skills will serve you well. Rather than competing against the computer, the trick is learning to complement it.

I’m walking away from IdeaFestival today with a new goal: laugh at my brick walkie-talkie cell-phone WITH my grandkids. I may have had dial-up Internet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t stay up-to-date with technological trends today and in the days to come. Thanks, IdeaFestival for making me think in a new light once again!

Actually, I think I’ll tweet that. #ideafestival

Screenshot 2014-10-03 11.11.24




Jordan Cornett is an Account Coordinator at Heartland Communications Consultants, Inc. and frequent blogger for KIX.


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