The Internet will be an integral part of our collective future. We need to adjust to it, warts and all.
A system of communications, non-existent only a quarter of a century ago, has encompassed every aspect of our lives and world, eliminating space and time differences. It is disrupting every rule set by the institutions of the past. Every process and institution that comes to mind, every industry, communication and logistics system, as well as geopolitics, educational structures, and urban life are in the path of this new disruptive wave. It is now impossible to analyze any political, economic or social event without taking into consideration the effect the Internet has had or will have on them.
On every conceivable level, be it personal, institutional or societal, the post-Internet world is fundamentally different from what preceded it. The era we defined as the Modern Age or the Industrial Age ended with the introduction of the TCP-IP to the public, which marked the inception of the era we can now call the Post-Industrial Age.
Ensuing disruptions have altered the established patterns and traditions of our lives and engendered their own crises. Both in our immediate environment and throughout the world, we are witnessing daily events that consume our time and energy and disturb us.
The crises that Turkey finds itself in are mainly reflections of paradigm shifts that are simultaneously taking place across the world. We have not yet internalized the necessary behavioral changes, since the paradigm shift is happening much faster than we can adapt. Most importantly, the social constructs and models that this shift imposes on us have not yet been fully formed.
The only possible way to cope with this ever-accelerating paradigm shift is to change the way we behave. The disparity between generations is growing wider and deeper. Behavioral change is as important for individuals as it is for institutions. We, today’s youth, are facing greater uncertainties than ever before. From our perspective, the feeling of insecurity brought about by such uncertainty is instinctively one of the main causes of our generalized sense of angst.
The solution is to prepare for the uncertainties of the future and look at them through a different lens. If we can succeed in changing our perspective/approach, the anxiety that accompanies those uncertainties will be replaced by exhilaration for a novel future.
The most important behavioral change we must undergo is acknowledging that these disruptions will continue unabated and preparing ourselves for a pace of change we are unaccustomed to. Yesterday’s world grew in a linear fashion, whereas today’s world bears the imprint of an exponentially expanding technological frontier.
The world is changing faster than ever before. Markets in virtual spaces are free from the physical boundaries that limit industrial products; innovation comes into being through the convergence of ideas. A new idea, when merged with the features of a different product, may give rise to a new product.
Like new products, change is created through the merger of ideas. How should youth prepare for this change that knows no constraints of time and space? Everybody should be able to answer this question by using the tools in their own repertory. However, we believe three fundamental skills will be indispensable to our ability to rise to the challenge.
The most fundamental skill required to prepare for the future is flexibility; the ability to doubt what is on offer and to question it.
For us, the youth, the imperative is to truly know who we are; those who correctly identify their skills and competences will build self-esteem. In Turkey, we start from behind in this area because we were not raised in a culture and educational system that builds individual self esteem.
We lack an inquisitive culture. Decades have elapsed since our parents went to school, yet the fundamentals of our educational system haven’t changed. Nowadays, we can receive the equivalent of this education on our own and for a fraction of the cost. Educational opportunities facilitated by the Internet and online platforms are growing. Today, education and learning are not limited to the time spent at school. Education is now a lifetime endeavor.
Institutions are created and rules are written according to the prevailing paradigms of their era. On closer examination, we see that the social and economic rules currently in use were established during the Industrial Age. The world went through a rebuilding process in order to adapt to the conditions created by the industrial revolution. The entire legal system was revised, economics was defined as a science, and the infrastructure of human settlements was built to accommodate the needs of a developing world. The political framework of the agrarian era and the empires perished; the nation state was produced by the industrial age. In turn, the nation-state provided the conditions for democratic systems.
When rules last for five or six generations, it’s natural to fall into the trap of thinking that they are our legacy and must never be altered. Today, during this period of great transformation, those rules are not as viable as they used to be and fail to respond to the needs of our time. In other words, without adaptation, rules self-destruct. We must learn to be flexible. What doesn’t bend breaks.
To anticipate the world that is being shaped, we need to understand not just the world we are leaving behind or the new one that is emerging but also this current period of transition. Nowadays, a task that required the use of multiple devices can be completed with the use of just one, as technologies converge to achieve a level of efficiency beyond our imagination. Technological change brings about social change that triggers opposition to it; the disruptions in political systems have an impact on technology; the different uses of social platforms influence election results, and, finally, election results have a bearing on the laws that regulate technology monopolies. Old and new institutions are interacting with each other in a constantly changing, multi-layered, and complicated way.
In the field of technology, convergence is a term that expresses how different technologies cooperate with each other.
We don’t come across new business models in digital space alone; new and authentic business models emerge from the process of tracking innovations in technology across the board and then relating them to one another to achieve convergences that provide new solutions to consumers.
As a rule, the generation in power cannot foresee the requirements of the future. Therefore, we must acquire the self-confidence we need to become masters of our own lives. The ability to look at the world through a different set of lens will be the basis for this self-confidence. Our second imperative, therefore, is convergence.
Established industries are confronted with profound change. The term the “4th Industrial Revolution” was popularized at the World Economic Forum meeting of 2015. Dubbed “Industry 4.0” the term encompasses forms of production as well as the scale of production facilities. The nature of the change in competitiveness thus becomes very apparent.
We are accustomed to the failure of old and mismanaged companies and their replacement by new ones. Yet, current developments transcend new management models. Every structure that shapes our lives, from the smallest to the largest, needs change and convergence. Governance models and socio-political structures are confronted by new developments and realities that concepts and institutions shaped in the industrial era can no longer address. Neither the educational nor the legal system is capable of rising to the challenges of the future.
In order to repair the cracks opened in the institutions of the industrial age, innovation must become the code word for public bodies as well as private companies. This is precisely where the need for the convergence of public institutions and novel thought systems, like the convergence of business models, is starkly felt.
The main objective of the school system that grew out of the rapid urbanization caused by industrialization was to enable youth to gain the abilities necessary for them to participate in the production process. The main objective of most educational systems is to provide youth the skills they need to participate in economic life.
Today, there is no doubt that the current approach giving priority to memorization should be dumped; in its place, the educational system should prioritize the nurturing of qualities that match the requirements of our age. Because rapid global change makes it impossible to plan for the upcoming 20 years, we must instead be encouraged to develop the skills needed to shape our own lives. If we don’t converge, we will sink.
Another skill that is a sine qua non to becoming a citizen of the future is learning how to be an active member of the network that surrounds us. Inside this web of communications, no individual has the self-sufficiency to create value on their own.
Your likelihood of success directly correlates with how diverse and strong your network is. To be a strong link in our network, we should utilize our skills in ways that benefit our network. We also must be one with our network, both physically and mentally. The world of the future will be a place where those who use shared wisdom prevail.
The search for shared wisdom transcends geographical boundaries, so questioning and monitoring what is being done and where is critical. People need to learn how to access information and connect with other people around the world. The most important part of this process is understanding that there are millions of other young people like you, who are also trying to adapt to this change.
The increasing flow of information between different parts of the world is accelerating global flows of goods, services, financial resources, and people. The nature of globalization dictates that these factors are integral to each other and come as a package. In the long term, we believe that we will not have the luxury of favoring one over the other. Hence, expanding and holding onto our networks will become imperative.
Institutions are eroding and losing their functions, the breaches being opened in our systems are getting deeper. At no point in history, have technological advancements spread and engraved themselves on the social base so fast and forcefully.
The profound and rapid developments taking place have a dark side that we are being exposed to and made aware of through the incessant news cycle of mass media. Increasing acts of terrorism, intensifying separatist movements, political extremism, cybercrime and criminal acts that did not exist until recently, such as computer hacking and theft of personal information, intensify the anxiety we are feeling about the future.
The Internet was founded in 1989, and the first wave of its first round effects was felt by the academic world navigating the frontiers of new technology. Entrepreneurs were the second group to feel its impact. This was followed by the transformation of the financial industry. With globalization acting as a catalyst, the waves then washed over economics and raced towards politics. By the second half of the 2010s, political uncertainty had started to encompass the whole world.
Next in line will be social uncertainty. To overcome these problems, we must take a holistic approach to the problems at hand and build a sound intellectual foundation. The Internet is still in its adolescence. We offer a framework for formulating models to solve the problems generated and spread globally by the Internet.
The problems that we are facing in our environment are just reflections of larger trends affecting the entire world. Just as our problems are everyone’s, we share the problems of the world at large. As a result, any solution that is not informed by a holistic approach may yet invite another problem in the future.
Beginning Node is a platform that empowers individuals by creating encounters with people from different disciplines who share their vision and by connecting them to the tremendous potential of exponentially growing ideas. It’s a platform for formulating models to solve the problems generated and spread globally by the Internet.
We believe that only a change of heart can fix a troubled state of affairs. We believe that it’s not just our duty to try to solve the problems of the new world and the uncertainties of its future but also our debt to future generations.
So, come one and come all to join other entrepreneurial spirits who wish to use the disruptive technologies of our age to establish business models that serve the interests of humanity. Come and be a part of this platform of people who comprehend the behavioral changes needed in the post-industrial world, who strive for the “unreachable”, and who have established their link in a global chain of information and people.
Good leaders don’t just convince those around them to believe in their dreams, they pursue collective dreams as well. Are you ready for a world where you can add new perspectives to existing models, develop new models, and debate with intellectuals who have a wide variety of approaches and worldviews?