Peter Geng of Mississauga, Ontario was selected as the winner of the 2014 BBG Communications Scholarship. Below you can read what Peter submitted.
Essay #1: What do you think is the greatest advancement in the information and communications technology industry over the last 10 years?
The greatest advancement in information and communications technology is the advent of the data-enabled mobile devices. These devices seamlessly connect the end user to world and have ushered forth one of the greatest revolutions in human history. After the Agricultural and Industrial Revolution, the Information Revolution is another historical event that will reshape human history. The Information Revolution utilizes these mobile devices to give the common people more knowledge and power than ever before. In the 1990s, people have witnessed the rise of the World Wide Web and its ability to change the world. In the past decade, mobile devices have given the Internet more versatility to affect every person in this world and generations to come. These devices have created virtually unlimited points of access for billions of users, multiplied the speed at which content is consumed, and have given control of information back to the user.
Today, smartphone users worldwide have totaled to approximately 1.75 billion in 2014. If we discount the young infants and the elderly who are unable to use or understand the technology, about 40% of the human population is using the data-connected smartphone. Everyone that has a mobile device is a point of access to consume information. From news, magazines, advertisements, propaganda, videos, movies, and personal communication, people can process the information in anyway of their choosing. Thus, this has presented itself as an unprecedented opportunity for any broadcasting media, and transmission source to proliferate ideas and information. The ubiquity of access has truly shaped the outcomes of various world events. For example, in the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, the autocratic rulers of the country were overthrown by demonstrators‚?? riots and protests.
Although the government had tried to cut-off all internet portals to access information, the demonstrators had their mobile devices and were able use various social networking tools to successfully organize and prolong the protests for 18 days. Resulting the president to cede all power to the vice president and accept reform. Political events like these have truly reshape the history of nations. The oppressed citizens owe their success to the smartphones that give them precious access to information. Using the smartphone, common people can understand, communicate, and organize together no matter what the adversity they face. The mobility of information consumption is truly one of the greatest gifts that smart devices have provided to society.
With the increasing popularity of smart-devices, the industry has rushed to capture the attention and marketplace of the consumer. The manufacturers of mobile devices have raced to create faster and better models ever since the inception of these powerful devices. Now, for the cost of a few hundred US dollars, people can have a computing device that is more powerful than the computers used to send astronauts to the moon in the 1970s; in their back pocket. Among these technological advances, the one notable capability of these smartphones is the speed at which they can transmit and receive data. Even the most inexpensive smart devices can upload and download huge amounts of data in matter of seconds. This astounding speed has prompted people to use and consume more information with convenience. Due to the mind-boggling speed of these devices, people can, without hesitation, view more news, watch more videos and create more content. The consumer behavior also drive to increase the pace at which information is produced. The insatiable demand for more new information is also a great opportunity for the information and communication technology industry to foster innovation. The industry now need to match the appetite of consumption with increased production of new data. New videos can be created and broadcasted over the Internet on daily or hourly basis and there will be a market to consume them. Live news or blog is in increasing demand because people can view on their smart devices whenever and wherever they want. This trend has increased the content volume and the rate at which content is being produced. One can only imagine the prosperity brought forth by these device to the producers of information.
Data-enabled mobile devices has one fundamental feature that has given them the ability to change the world ‚?? control. In the hands of users, the common people can control the information being viewed. People can control the content of information, the amount of information, and the timing of content consumption. This has never happened before to the common people in the history of humanity. It has given disruptive power to the people and dismantled the concentration of valuable knowledge. Any end user has access to the entirety of the human intellect in their palm. They can become more knowledgeable about any topic at any place and at any time. The people can now decide for themselves what information is correct and beneficial instead of being brainwashed by mass propaganda. The people can control the channels of communication and therefore controlling the information consumption pipeline. They can switch off, change, and create information exchange portals and even the information itself. Thus, the people can have a better understanding of the situation and make better informed decisions. The internet in junction with mobile devices is the only equalizer to all that is unjust. It should be with great pride that the IT and communication sector is leading this leap forward in one of humanity‚??s greatest achievement.
In the past decade, ‚??information granting‚?Ě mobile devices have truly changed not only the IT and Communication Sector, but the world and everyone in it. Information is being consumed and produced at an unprecedented rate and it is all for the greater advancement of humanity. One should feel fortunate to exist in such exciting times in history and to witness the birth of a brighter future for humanity.
Essay #2: Why do you think a College/University education is important?:
Our world is a small and precious place in the universe. Only our environment is known to support life as we know it. Consequently, as population on this planet increase, humanity need to seek efficiency in every aspect of life in order to survive and prosper on this resource constrained rock. This includes our method of placing judgment on the credentials of people.
I believe every individual, regardless of gender, race, background is capable of extraordinary feats. However, it is impractical to give everyone the opportunity of resources to achieve those goals. We need to maximize our efficiency and allocate the valuable resources to the best so they can generate greater returns in our investment of trust. Simply put, only the best can get the best because we have so little resources. This is a cruel but inevitable truth.
When evaluating an individual for any propose, we cannot not spend countless hours in accessing their diverse aptitude, their various interests, their vibrant emotional intelligence, or their unpredictable potential greatness. We can only draw from their cumulative experiences and credentials to gauge their future performance. Even at that, we can only use a number of key indicators to screen people in order to increase the efficiency of the selection process. This results in the arbitrary measurement of an individual‚??s potential by numerical grades, prestige of degrees or sum of cash they earned in the last year.
For example, an employer cannot spend days and days getting to know a job candidate or understanding the candidate‚??s entire life. The employer can only rely on a few results on his or her resume to determine the employability of the applicant. In this case, those results may be professional degrees, school grades, specific skill sets, past performance achievements, and previous job titles.
Due to lack of capital, human, and raw resources, one can only use a small number of key indicators to assess another‚??s worth and potential. This places an importance for an individual to attain those arbitrary key indicators. A prominent indicator is the degree from a prestigious college or university. With acquisition of the degree, other people may have an easier time of evaluating one‚??s worth and abilities. This process is deemed natural and practiced every day in our society. As a result, if one wants to succeed in attaining personal goals within this society, having a degree is paramount. However, if one wants to achieve goals via other unorthodox methods, having a college degree may not be very important.
One unorthodox method to attain societal success is through entrepreneurship. In entrepreneurship, the need for those accreditations diminish. One sometimes do not need those degrees to start a business. One only needs to make profit for the company to survive. Whether or not he founder has a degree from a university is almost irrelevant. The skill sets required to succeed in entrepreneurship cannot be measured or depicted with a few simple numbers or indicators. One needs a whole suite of traits and attributes, which can only be attained through life experiences in order to create a profitable business.
Another reason why college degrees may be deemed important before now is due to the institution‚??s access to information and the creators of information. Being a student of a college or university two decades ago meant one had access to large libraries where information is stored, and opportunities to engage in discourse with other bright students and professors that are conducting research on the bleeding edge of technology. However, that has changed. Now, anyone with access to the internet can do all of that and more efficiently. One has access to all the recorded knowledge in human history on his or her data-enable device. One can also create forums to facilitate discussions on any topic of choice. One can even participate, remotely, in crowd-sourced or open-resourced research projects led by prominent professors which will advance the boundaries of the collective intellect. Knowledge and information is now open to the public, no one institution can lock up knowledge behind closed doors and deny others access. The reign of great institutions that has lasted thousands of years is being eroded away by the internet. The purpose of attaining education no longer rely on physically going to a college, one can do that simply with access to the World Wide Web.
Even prestigious universities like Stanford, Yale, and MIT are offering many of their courses online for free. Anyone can learn from their courses and attain knowledge. These industry leading universities have realized that with the advent of the internet, they need to provide their resources on the web for the greater good of the world, and stay true purpose of education ‚?? instill wisdom in all of its students. Ultimately, one do not absolutely need to attend a college to receive the education one desires.
The world is a scary place with many inconvenient truths. The lack of resources has restricted us to scrutinize ourselves and cull out only the best of us to prosper. If one wants to conform to societal standards, then getting a college degree is very important. However, a college degree is by no means a prerequisite to success. In addition, with the ubiquity of internet access, the knowledge that these high-education institutions hoard can easily be accessed by any that have a thirst for learning. Again, one does not need to have a college degree to prove one is educated. Thus, the choice of attaining a college degree is left to the individual.