Generational Change: Are We Accelerating? – Shower Thoughts ep. 05

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Show Notes

In this episode we talk about how the change between generations is accelerating, the role of technology and the internet in this change, and whether we think we’d struggle to keep up with technology as we get older. We also discuss some of the major potential inflection points in technological advancements in the coming decades.

Key discussion points in this episode:

  • As time passes, the rate of change and development in society has been increasing. This means that there is less time required for a generational gap to develop.
  • As the world progresses, it’s our responsibility to stay up to date
  • Catalysts for change in human advancement: what’s next?

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What is Getting It?: In a Nutshell
A conversation where we explore topics both familiar and unfamiliar to us to find out what makes them interesting, so that we can expand our horizons and further our understanding of the world and people around us.
From science to lifestyle design, languages to religion, plus everything in between – anything can be interesting if exposed to you through the right lens. We hope to spark your curiosity through open-minded and thoughtful discussion, as well as a healthy dose of overthinking.


About us
Subaan is a 4th year medical student, motion designer, and an avid rabbit hole explorer. He has keen interests in lifestyle design, technology, investing, and metabolic health. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter.

Dan is a 5th year medical student, pianist, and random fact connoisseur. He spends most of his time learning about languages, playing sports, music, and geopolitics. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter.


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Transcript

Note: This transcript was generated using Otter.ai. Therefore the transcript will not be 100% accurate in some parts.

Subaan Qasim  00:10
And in this episode, we talked about how the change between generations is accelerating the role of technology and the internet in this change, and whether we think we struggle to keep up with technology as we get older. We also discuss some of the major potential inflection points in technological advancements in the coming decades.

Daniel Redfearn  00:26
Hello, Subaan.

Subaan Qasim  00:28
Hello, Dan.

Daniel Redfearn  00:29
How is zoom treating you?

Subaan Qasim  00:30
I mean, it’s already lagging. So not too great. All right.

Daniel Redfearn  00:33
That’s good. I mean, I think that’s a pretty universal theme recently. Yeah. All teams, I think I feel like teams are taken over

Subaan Qasim  00:38
zoom a little bit in the last few months. I think it’s just an institute institutional kind of thing where, you know, a lot of universities I guess, so for us, they just use teams because the Microsoft suite. So but I, I think most companies aren’t, you know, stops or just companies in general use zoom over teams, unless you already have a subscription to, you know, office 365.

Daniel Redfearn  00:57
Interesting. Well, you know, it’s a new solid, how

Subaan Qasim  01:00
Skype lost them, and they had the prime opportunity. And from in literally, a couple of days, it went from our let me Skype you to Oh, let me zoom you

Daniel Redfearn  01:09
didn’t they join with teams or something? Skype?

Subaan Qasim  01:13
Yeah, no idea.

Daniel Redfearn  01:15
Okay. That could be based off nothing. I’ll move that on. Quick. So I’ve contacted you today to have a conversation about generations. Okay. is based off a thought I had a couple of days ago when I was having dinner. Was it in the shower? No, no, no, no, you said it could have been could have been in the shower. But this time I was having dinner? Yeah, just crazy productive, you know, like, have a dinner, do at least three things at all times. So I was just thinking about how even people a couple of years younger than me. Some sometimes it feels like they’re from a slightly different generation, just very slightly, honestly. You know, I think tic tocs accelerated, because obviously, people it’s true, actually, people who use Tick Tock a lot. I think the way that they communicate is slightly different. Yeah, at least from the people who I know, nothing wrong with it is just a change, right? And changes are often neither good nor bad. Ultimately, they’re just different. But what made me realize is, that’s a very quick shift, right a couple of years. And here’s where the broader thought came in. 1000s of years ago, the time it took for people to change in a mindset enough to consider that they’re different from other people would have been over a very long scale. And we know that humans are exponential, right. So if you look at the population growth of humans, and just the development in the last 50 years, it’s crazy, right. And we’re still, I don’t know what the rate is at the moment on that curve. But we’re at the point where even two or three years, and you can feel a slight cultural difference with another person have, in all other ways, the same background, the same mentality, the same experiences, for the most part, but it’s just the time in which the internet was sprung upon us is very slightly different to the time in which the internet was sprung upon them. And that means the nature of their friendship started changing at a slightly younger age, because we’re the last were among the last people who, at least in our very early childhood, it was without the internet, really, you know, like when I lived in New Zealand until 2005. And when we were in New Zealand, I definitely never used the internet, or not that I can remember. And in the UK, I only really started using the internet, when I was about like 1213 years old. From then on, I use the internet every day, I had access to the internet. But there are people obviously, even four or five years younger than us, who from the age of you know, six years old, seven years old, what on the internet. And even later than that, nowadays, you’ve got teenagers who have grown up with the internet. So the broad point that I’m making is that the rate of which the acceleration, the rate at which the generations are changing, is getting quicker and quicker, in my opinion. Yeah, I wanted to know what you think of that, whether you’ve noticed that as well.

Subaan Qasim  04:02
Yeah, I have. And I’ve always thought about this in the fact that, you know, these things that go down generations as well, in terms of different trends and stuff have just been going down the generations a lot quicker. So I think the first, I remember, my first email and stuff that I sent around, was probably around when I first probably started using the internet was like four or five years old, but even for our generation, I think I was quite young, of being on computers and stuff since day one because my dad kind of liked technology and stuff. But still remember the days of dial up internet, I think most people already do. But yeah, now you have child like babies actual babies using iPads since day one, basically. Yeah. So the way the internet accelerates things is unbelievable. And you have those disparities within internet usage as well. Like I mentioned Skype earlier. Does Skype even exists anymore. I think they’ve just stopped Skype

Daniel Redfearn  04:53
almost I don’t know. Yeah, but I still think it was teams somehow.

Subaan Qasim  04:57
Okay, fine, but Okay, let’s just say the audience integration will use Skype when we use like FaceTime and stuff. But I know my brother who’s four years younger than me five years younger than me, sorry, uses Snapchat and Tiktok and stuff. And okay, I guess they have different use cases. But so I don’t really know anyone in like of my age that uses tik tok, like the people of my brother’s generation do. So even within that there’s a disparity of there’s there’s disparity between the generations in terms of just internet usage, even though it’s one collective thing.

Daniel Redfearn  05:29
And oh, sorry for interrupting. But another thing is, we a lot of people, especially our age and younger, use the internet for hours a day, hours and hours a day. I know people who their screen time is above 12 hours genuinely on their phone.

Subaan Qasim  05:45
I am one of them.

Daniel Redfearn  05:46
And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. By the way. I’m not saying it’s inherently bad, nothing is inherently bad. Because a lot of people will also say, Oh, you know, when I was young, I never use technology. Or even though I say, Oh, my screen time is way less than that. As if I’m better in some way. But obviously, it’s how you use that time, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with it. So are you gonna say something?

Subaan Qasim  06:04
Yeah, I can’t remember what I was gonna say. But yeah, I am one of those people who spent a lot of time on the internet just because, okay, I basically did grow up with the internet. But I was growing up through the development of the internet, the internet is a lot more mature than it was back then the rate of change and innovation was insane. It still is, to be fair, you’re still getting new social medias and stuff, like clubhouse is a new thing that’s kind of blowing up. You still get an Tick Tock is only think there’s a thing of the past two years, really, they kind of blew up. So yeah, there’s sort of this massive change.

Daniel Redfearn  06:37
Tick Tock also marks a generational shift in the sense that it kind of welcomed China into the western sphere as well. In some ways, it’s the first giant platform that links links together with the rest of the world, because obviously, China, the way they interact with the internet is completely different. And it’s just so interesting to see the market opened up that book that massively. Yeah, kind of leads us into the unknown a bit, because I don’t know, from here, what platform will be the biggest platform in five years time in 10 years time? Because that’s a lot of soft power, isn’t it? controlling social media? I mean, we’ve already seen how social media can influence elections. Do you think Donald Trump would have been elected in 2016? If he didn’t have access to social media?

Subaan Qasim  07:18
If he didn’t have access to shoots to social media, then? No, but what how much influence? Well, I mean, I guess it kind of answered my own question, but I’m not entirely sure how much I haven’t looked into it. Obviously, there’s a lot of influence with social media and stuff. And especially when it came to gatekeeping, certain information or fact checking, and it was just the organization’s like Twitter and Facebook doing that kind of stuff, then yeah, they have a lot of power, because everyone’s connected via these mediums. And if these mediums are taking control, and using it for their own agendas, you know, has potentially dire consequences, or potentially good consequences, although they’re more difficult to kind of see outright. One thing that’s interesting is that it’s not just I get into in the internet and technology and everything like that, even in the stock market, which is, you know, you don’t really have young people in the stock market apart from over the past year or two, especially with co COVID accelerated it. And then obviously, in January, February, with the whole GameStop situation, an entirely new generation, especially young people started getting into investing in stuff. And something that’s just been a meme over the past 35 years or whatever, the Becky stocks. So you have like Fang, right? You Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Google that stuff. We have Becky stocks like Starbucks, Lulu lemon and that kind of stuff, where it’s like even they within the stock market have their own kind of separate thing. Where, yes, the generational gap in terms of the people who would invest in those kind of companies, you wouldn’t get any traditional investors going into that there’s a generational gap between that as well. You have the people like Warren Buffett, Peter Lynch, Charlie Munger, and he says you have people like Cathy wood, although she’s still very old. But her mindset is more millennial and or you know, Gen Z in that sense, where you’re looking at technology, and innovation and stuff. And you have all of these, like the new wave of investors, like people our age, who are all down that hype in terms of these growth, stocks, internet and technology, and is hard for the older generation to really see it.

Daniel Redfearn  09:20
This is a really big point that I was thinking about. I saw a tweet today, they made me laugh. It’s a bit mean. But it was like the it was talking about older, older people who work in it who’ve been working in a firm since like 1992. So they’ve got like, absolute job security, but they don’t know how to explore PDF. And it’s like having to go those people who can say that those older people can be so rude, but they don’t even really fit into modern society, in some ways, is a really main point that obviously isn’t entirely true. But it does, it did bring up something which is quite relevant, which is we’re saying that things are moving exponentially as time passes in terms of just general improvement. Obviously, that can’t go on forever. So you You can probably get into two things. One, when does it start the tail off, you said that, you know, things are still changing so rapidly every year. And the second thing is, we’re lucky to be in the young generation at the moment to have been brought up with this. But as time passes, it’s only I’ve only started to notice it in the last couple of years, what you were saying about Snapchat, tick tock apps that I never really use, that other people are using. And it means that I will start to get a bit behind in the latest trends as time passes. So it’s almost you have a responsibility thing about like, last week’s episode to kind of keep staying up to date. Do you know I mean?

Subaan Qasim  10:35
Yeah, I’ve always thought about this, because I don’t know, I’ve always seen myself, as you know, quite interested in technology, I just always like doing I like having the latest, we’re not always having the latest, but always reading about the latest news technologies and innovations and whatnot. People who aren’t like that are inevitably going to fall behind. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t fall behind, because it depends, it outpaces how much I can keep up with. And obviously, it becomes harder to change and adapt to these new things, if you’re not introduced to them at a young age. And I think that’s where the problem came in with the internet. Because I don’t think there’s been such a shift in terms of how society works and how we function in terms of our day to day lives as the internet and the portable computer. Right? The CPU that we have in our phones and stuff, like the stuff we have in our phones isn’t so like, probably 100,000 times more powerful than the computers that took Neil Armstrong to the moon. It’s hard to even comprehend that. Yes. So that shift where, okay, say if you’re in your, you know, mid 40s, or 50s, or whatever. And now you have these weird things on phones, like think about the iPhone came out, like 13 ish years ago, that changes that change the face of the world in terms of how we use technology, and how much we interact with technology, like the the amount of time we spend using with it, no one could have predicted that. And that kind of shift where, you know, at least you’re in the mindset of you’ve just been using a notebook for the past 50 years and everyone, or you know, you’ve been sending letters for the past 50 years of your life. And now everyone just sends texts, it’s hard to even kind of comprehend what that means. I remember seeing a tweet thread the other day where it was someone came up with a 30 year prison sentence, like a week ago. And so he just missed out on all of this stuff. And, you know, when he was trying to get integrated back into the system and stuff be like, Oh, yeah, just send send an email, the job applications on email. And he just didn’t bring it up until he went back to his, my attorney or whatever, to just like, he was just kind of embarrassed to admit that he doesn’t really know what email is and stuff. And like, Oh, you know, he’d know what email is. But he wouldn’t have to do it, because he’s never used a lot. Or, you know, the system, they probably used to send emails in prison is going to be very different. So he had to kind of get recalibrated on how to use that. What’s the zoom call, even in the past year, people who were in the older generation have really been struggling to adapt to all these online meeting saying that these zoom calls and stuff, not everyone, but a lot of people. Yeah, even younger people I know, it’s like, if, yeah, exactly. If I have to use a new program for the first time, it’s always going to be a bit weird. But because I understand the journey, how generally software works and how they don’t do UX UI kind of design, and how things work, I kind of know where to look to find an option, right? The first thing I do whenever I get a new application is go straight into the settings. So I can just mess around and figure out what it does and how to optimize it. I just kind of had that. That’s just my personality and using that kind of stuff, but most people aren’t. And especially if you’re older, and you’re already less comfortable with using this kind of technology, very easy to just get left behind. Where? Yeah, so I don’t know, like, I’d like to think that I won’t get left behind. And you know, the new generation of apps and technologies end up coming out. But I think the shift from now to those new things will be less drastic than the internet coming into your hand in the form of a phone. It was like back 10 years ago,

Daniel Redfearn  14:04
basically, you know, just a few minutes ago when we were talking about the speed of progression. And a large factor in that is just demand. So if you look at a civilization, like the Indus civilization, the River Valley Civilization, the environment they were in would determine the rate of improvement and the demands that they had. And so the improvements they would make in their society were based on the demands, right? So the Romans would like I don’t know, like setting up the irrigation systems and stuff, the the scale of the society there and the resources they had dictated how much they improved. And I think something that’s changed, and that’s caused such an exponential increase is you end up with like, I’m okay, I need to be correct and how articulate it you have certain bottlenecks, like technological advancements that once they’re made, it rapidly increases improvements, like the Industrial Revolution, once one society can figure out how to make a mass improvement, it kind of opens up the improvement for everyone. And that’s never been more apparent than when the internet was developed, because suddenly, you’ve scaled up to the whole world. And on the scale that we’re on now, you can’t scale up anymore, can you? Unless you’re Elon Musk, obviously. Yeah, the

Subaan Qasim  15:16
internet is still being scaled up, because there are huge populations without reliable or any internet at all. Yes, I’m

Daniel Redfearn  15:23
sorry, to sorry, to just finish that point. I am talking about the point, like the furthest point with the internet is everyone’s connected to the internet? Yeah, so I do agree, they’re still like, you know, five times more people who are going to be properly connected. And that will take at least I don’t know, I don’t know, predict wrong, but multiple generations,

15:40
surely,

Subaan Qasim  15:40
I’d say, by the end of this, I don’t know 2025. I think most of the stalling or 2030, most of starlink is going to be up, which will then cover 95 97% of the world’s surface, maybe like 87%. So that would basically be everyone. The only services not covers like Antarctica and stuff.

Daniel Redfearn  15:58
So like, in the generations, because obviously, the generational theory, when we say generations, we’re talking about like, five to 10 years at the moment, would you say until you feel like you’re speaking to Sony’s from a slightly different generation? What do you think we’re not basing it off of the theory here? Because obviously there is that official one with Generation Z. It’s not official, millennials, baby boomers, the silent generation. But

Subaan Qasim  16:19
yeah, I don’t know. For me, I can see a generational difference, just within five years, because my brother is five years younger. And, yeah, I always say his generation because it is different, like, I’m only five years old, but the social media that I use is very different to what he uses, and the way he uses it, the kind of stuff he consumes on it is very different to what I consume. And the thing is, is also kind of gone down generations where, or I guess there’s a kind of a different point, I’ll just quickly mention it as well. Okay, that there are like three points I want to make. One is like, say, if you look at music, the way that’s changed and gone down the generations, a lot of say, rap and hip hop, you know, kind of started out in the older generation, but the rate at which it was going down to the younger generations increased rapidly. And that’s now hip hop and rap, I’m pretty sure it’s like pop, technically, because it’s the most popular. So that’s pretty interesting. And so that’s the rate of things going down generation. So I feel like generations are getting smaller, because it’s the, it’s easier to see differences in shorter time gaps now, between generation. And the second thing is, I think one thing that led to this massive, or this contraction in the time between generations, at least in the way I see them, is because of the way the internet scale things across the whole world and connected everything, the way some people would use one technology is very different to how people would go using the technology in a different part of the world because of different cultures, like cultural norms, and moral philosophies and stuff. So yeah, and different, like levels of restriction and stuff. So when CRISPR technology for gene editing was kind of discovered, and substantiated, pretty quickly, some people in China just actually made genetically engineered babies pretty quickly. And everyone was just kind of shook like we made the technology and people already making their own, you know, in the West is more like, be very cautious about to take it one step at a time. And everything, all these rules and regulations. And I suppose they would have that in China as well. But some people just thought it’d be alright, in a lab to just do that. I think they killed them of sickle cell, I can’t remember what gene D, you know, edited. But anyway. I mean, yeah, either way, there was just a massive disparity in the kind of morals there. So it led to a different change, then, because there’s the internet, it just kind of integrates across the whole world, the way China and stuff use internet and technology is very different to the way the like people in the West used it until it all kind of integrated and that kind of major integration has only probably really happened of the past five to, I’d say, past five to 10 years, probably really over the past five, seven years or so. So, yeah, that’s just kind of my thoughts on it in terms of why I see it the contraction of time between the generations.

Daniel Redfearn  19:12
I don’t want to put pressure on you. But I am thinking, so we’re talking about like, if you’re trying to visualize the rate of improvement of a society or rate of development, and we’re talking about like, I don’t know, a bottleneck is the right term. But each individual societies improvements are limited by the lack of a certain technology that then gets discovered and then things really increase again and rapidly. They accelerate again. So like with the Industrial Revolution, that’s a great example, or the internet revolution. That’s a great example. What do you think could be not will be but could be the next like, big accelerating factor,

Subaan Qasim  19:50
okay. So there are two things one AI machine learning deep learning that stuff and to blockchain and cryptocurrencies, mostly because of the state of lightning. The central Financing stuff, giving him more stable currencies. And what again, maybe not so stable right now. But later on once it all kind of matures, the security in terms of financing for those people in countries where they don’t have a stable currency where, you know, one month in and all of their savings are basically like, one month later, their savings are worthless because of hyperinflation or something. Or the government can just kind of seize assets and cash ins just stuff off you. So that that will really help in that sense, and for the blockchain and cryptocurrencies. But I mean, that’s already making differences in certain other sectors we are going to get into but then the other one is AI and machine learning, autonomous driving, probably going to come pretty soon, no moss is pretty confident, like he’s pretty close. And I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts by this neural net experts called James Duma, or Dharma, J. James dahmer was being had a lot of interviews, basically, by Dave Lee. And he really got to the bottom of it. And he’s an expert in the field of neural nets and stuff, which is obviously facilitated by AI, machine learning that kind of stuff. And it seems like you like Tesla is pretty close to actually solving, fully autonomous driving. And that’s going to revolutionize the world. Can you imagine like, the way people think about transport and cars and stuff is going to be completely different? Right? Can you imagine like your cars or your Tesla, the whole Robo taxi thing where you drive to work, or you get driven to work by your car, and then you just park it off at work. And you just go on your phone and go Robo taxi, and he just goes out makes coffee, right? And that’s always a huge profit margins for Tesla, but they’re already designing the cars for that you have you seen those yoke, steering wheels, and the new model and the meters widescreen things and actually made it compatible with the Xbox controllers and everything screen in the back. Now, that’s widescreen, so you can play games. He’s already taken it all into account. Because I mean, he’s confident that Elon Musk is confident that Tesla is pretty close to solving it, basically. And then it’s just a matter of regulation and trust in the system. Because such a huge thing to trust, something like that to just drive you around without any awareness at all. So yeah, that’s AI and machine learning coming into that. And yeah, ai like, have you looked at GPT. Three, it was by open AI. So that’s the language thing where it actually generates speech. Basically, it’s not just copy and pasting it from some ways of generating it, like completely raw, obviously, it’s not entirely exactly the same as human speech. But a lot of the stuff that generates you won’t be able to really tell that is different. So you could do something you could input into that AI thing. GPT three, right, me. So you can give it some characters. I have, you know, a 24 year old male who wants to go to university to become a scientist, but his life ends up getting turned around, you give it that prompt, and we’ll just write out a script for you. You’ve seen that, right? It’s, it’s insane. And a lot of it is actually good. Obviously, there right now is still in its early stages, which is insane. So some parts won’t be coherent, but most of it will be and it’s actually insane. So these are just some of the beginning parts of it. And then obviously, in terms of computing power, and just, you know, all these algorithms have already taken over our lives, right. And that’s where at the beginning stage of it probably hit quantum computing at some point, our processes per second that we can do computational processes will just increase massively. So these are just kind of things where we’ll just kind of be able to, like we have all this unlocked power, just waiting. And we just need some AI algorithms to just kind of like crank crank the lever to just make it go boo, basically.

Daniel Redfearn  23:42
Have you heard of them shortly? Ai?

Subaan Qasim  23:46
Yes, yes. I have. Yeah. It’s like a short story writing thing. Yeah.

Daniel Redfearn  23:52
Yeah. That’s a friend of mine who, from uni, he, like he’s doing medicine, but I can definitely see him. Like, going more and more into that, because he’s Yeah,

Subaan Qasim  24:01
I spoke to him about it for a little bit. And it’s really interesting. And what he’s done with it is actually insane. I remember he said that you actually get his hands on it pretty early. And yeah, it actually even managed to answer. I think he tweeted that. He managed to answer a medical question. He gave it a question. It was, and it was it was a hard question, like I to sit and think about the answer. It was to do with COPD and asthma and stuff. And he got the correct answer. And I gave an explanation for it. But the explanation wasn’t copied from somewhere it was brandley brand newly written, if that makes sense. So yeah, that were just in the beginning stages of it. It’s really hard to comprehend how much is just gonna change stuff. And I guess another thing is going to be clean energy. I guess that’s not so that actually is going to be just a generational shift in the way we use energy and technology and stuff. But yeah, those are kind of my three key areas, two key areas and that sounds

Daniel Redfearn  24:58
very, very interested in We started off talking about how generations are changing over time and how quickly we’re moving forward. And then we end up talking about AI. Okay. All right. I think we should call it there. That was a very interesting shuffle though. So thank you for joining me. Well, is it in? I thought it wasn’t. Yeah. That can be a new series new series. The series now? Yeah. But yeah. Okay. Thank you very much for that. Subaan.

Subaan Qasim  25:23
No problem. Thank you.

Daniel Redfearn  25:24
Thank you very much. Peace,

Subaan Qasim  25:26
Peace.