Author and theoretical physicist Dr. Michio Kaku spoke on campus over the weekend, sharing his mind-blowing revelations about the world of science today.  I’ll give him a lot of credit for making high level science accessible to a general audience, but I still couldn’t wrap my head around most of the ideas he says are reality already (or will be in the near future.)  

Dr. Kaku spoke of recording and then uploading a person’s full memory via a “brain pacemaker”, photographing dreams, having Iron-Man-like exoskeletons that serve as mind-controlled avatars or surrogates in hazardous positions (like the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan), developing a “library of souls” where via hologram connected to computer you could talk to famous people or your departed friends, and a contact lens that could connect you on-line via a simple blink.  It was like science fiction come to life.

But what struck me most from his talk wasn’t about the cool gadgets that are out there, but our lack of knowledge about who is out there.  Someone asked him whether he thought we were the only intelligence in the universe.  He described it this way:

When you see an ant hill, do you bend down, dig around in it, ask to see their Queen and offer them nuclear energy?  Of course, you do not.  It could be the same way in the universe — that all around us are other beings but they see us as ants and go about their business unconscious as to our existence.

Bringing this back to a perspective that I can comprehend, it occurred to me that sometimes people in organizations treat others as invisible ants.  Do you notice the facilities workers and stop to greet them?  Are you oblivious to the employees who serve you? Do you take into account the needs/feelings of the line workers when making policy decisions that may impact them? Have you treated your neighbors as ants who play no significance in your life rather than acknowledging them as members of your community?

Don’t act like King of the Hill in your world.  Instead, practice humility and remember that it could be that you are just the king of an ant hill.

— beth triplett

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