Bicycles of the mind

Since the explosion of the personal computer in the 1980s, the PC has evolved from being a business tool to an integral part of our daily lives. From work to entertainment, education to communication, the personal computer and its offshoots, such as mobile devices, have revolutionised how we live and work.

When some forty years ago, Steve Jobs came up with “personal computers are the bicycles of the mind”. The metaphor posited that just as bicycles amplify our physical abilities, computers amplify our cognitive abilities.

The idea is that just as a bicycle enables us to travel faster and farther than we could on foot, a computer allows us to process information at a speed and scale that we cannot achieve on our own. Computers are tools that enhance our ability to think, analyse, collaborate, and create.

However, like riding a bike, using a computer takes practice, skill and experience. To be outstanding at riding “the bike” has become infinitely more complex as technology has raced ahead at breakneck speed—core skills, such as high-level coding, information storage, and data analysis are an absolute must-know to enable one to leverage the power of the bicycle. A highly curious mind wouldn’t go amiss, either.

Then, late last year, we experienced a technological leap that was nothing less than world-changing: we transitioned from the humble bicycle to the all-conquering automobile with the launch of ChatGPT. This was a watershed moment that took everybody’s capabilities to new heights.

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