We used to live in an expert-based society and often refer to the phrase “based on expert opinions” as our safe bet. Not too long ago, we had experts in every specialty of the industries. We invited them to help solve our very specific problems and we all want to become one of them in our vocation. However now, we may have second thoughts.
A customer can be thrilled immensely today by all the built-in high-tech gadgets in a shining luxury new car, either a Mercedes or BMW: touch screen display, bluetooth connection, navigation system, rear-view camera, lane-changing assistance, parking sensors, keyless entries, built-in WiFi, etc., etc… If the features are not intuitive and the customer has no clue on how to use any of these, reading the manual may be the best resort. If the manual is poorly written, then figure it out yourself. Asking the salesmen? They are most likely of little help – simply because no salesman can understand all the new features. Call the warranty department of the manufacturer? Good luck with the time spent, because each part of the feature is likely developed by a different department or vendor, even from a different country. The situation is not any manufacturer or saleman’s fault. Customers want these fancy high-tech features and they are added in at a much faster pace than generations of mechanical features.
No other age in history makes it harder for anyone to claim an expert on anything. Broad range of changes, facilitated by modern technology advances, are accelerating at such a speed that it renders yesterday’s experts no longer today’s best know-how resources. In computer industry today, who can claim an expert on open source? Taking the legal industry as another example. When common laws and judgments can be processed by computer programs in the future, should a prospective law student learn more details about the laws or the computer skills?
What would constitute the key factors to survive in a modern world of no experts? How do we solve problems of our own and those big issues of business, economy, society or world peace in the coming age? – Broad experience and perspective, abilities to learn fast and learn on our own are likely among those that are surely needed.