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Pushing Beyond the Bounds of IQ and EQ

Our ability to assimilate tech into our lives is a key determinant of success.

Image by NostaLab
Source: Image by NostaLab

Today, we stand at an amazing and turbulent point in human history. This transformation—everything from household gadgets to sophisticated clinical tools—is changing at a rate that is frequently defined as an exponential curve. It's a smooth upward shape to the mathematician, but a roller-coaster ride for those who experience the dramatic ups and downs of obsolescence and innovation in real time. Think about this: It took 67 years for the airline industry to reach 50 million customers. It took Facebook only three years. And even more amazing, it took Pokémon Go 19 days to reach 50 million customers. That's the dynamic in which we live today, and it's largely mediated by technology.

The question that comes to mind is what is the nature of our relationship with technology itself and how can we optimize this inevitable dance forward. For the student, product manager, or clinician, it seems obvious that technology has long past the point of being an option and now is clearly an imperative to achieve almost any measure of success. Further, our ability to assimilate technology may actually be considered as an independent arbiter of success.

While we consider IQ and EQ to be fundamentally critical to our success, the equation can now be expanded where IQ and EQ must be combined with a new element called technology quotient or TQ. Simply put, IQ + EQ + TQ presents a new dynamic that allows us to thrive in today’s (and tomorrow’s) world. This new techno-relationship can directly enhance our cognitive capacity and even facilitate a broader and richer human engagement. While this dynamic is not without complexity and concerns, it remains virtually inevitable.

Our future is one of engagement and collaboration. And this engagement must include technology—but not as a peripheral component defined by its silicon-based existence. Technology will need, perhaps even demand, a seat at the table. Today, people and computers are working together. We see real and important synergies emerge in which the results are superior to either working alone. Technical skill, cognitive capacity, fatigue, social biases, and many other factors can be addressed and optimized to advance experiences and outcomes. The battle of man versus machine might be ending where cooperative engagement provides transformative solutions to a wide variety of problems and opportunities. The connections are powerful and yet enigmatic. They are creating a reality in which man and machine are inexorably connected for the benefit of humankind. Today, the smartest person in the room, might not be a persona at all.

This gets us back to exponential change and speed. Technology has established the pace of change—dragging humanity along, with mixed experiences. Technology has shown us amazing capabilities, but it has also cast a light on our human shortcomings. Human capabilities are far from definitive. And as the bicycle taught us over a hundred years ago, these abilities can be enhanced and unlocked with a simple mechanical advantage. The very same concept is true for technology today, and what becomes unlocked is humanity itself—from cognition to physical ability to sensory awareness. And in this process of transformation, our role must not be defined as a passive participant. Our future depends on it.


Learn more about my thoughts on TQ by listening to the TQ Podcast.