The Invisible War Against Speed Reading

When I found out, at the end of the last decade, how some people tend to use Facebook, I said: “Facebook is a personal branding tool that looks like a weapon. In the hands of a professional, it can have some pretty spectacular results. But, instead, a novice can shoot himself or herself with it.”

Last year, I finished the article” In the kingdom of blind men, the one-eyed man is kingwith this conclusion:

<<The motto “we work, we do not think” made sense after several decades of communist propaganda. The slogan “we think, we do not read” will soon become common sense.>>

At one point, my fears regarding the role of social media in transforming contemporary society into an” idiocracytype society were confirmed.

On LinkedIn, one of the largest professional networking social media for business and recruitment, the way the sections of each user’s profile are displayed changed a few years ago. For almost every area, the first 1-3 entries are presented in detail, while those interested would have to click on a button saying “see more” to read another 5 items. This feature mainly helps two large categories of users and creates problems for everyone else. The first category consists of recruiters who can only look at the desired content, such as the possibility to “scan” a few CVs with very well-organized categories. The second category consists of beginners, whose almost empty profiles may seem, at first glance, as long as those of people with 20 or 30 years of experience.

For example, I receive about 20 new requests for connections on LinkedIn every week. Until now, with a simple click on their profile and scrolling through, I could read their entire profile in 1-2 minutes. However, if someone has a profile just as complex and loaded with practice, education, and projects as mine, I find that for each profile, I have to click 30-40 times, then wait a few seconds for that section to load.

Such a system also has a rotten effect: it rewards the lazy and punishes those who want to process the information thoroughly. Those who use speed reading are punished.

We live in a society that feeds on already synthesized data under the label “information” by someone else or by a system over which we have no control. As a result, some of us search for content as short as possible, for increasingly lower attention and more demanded concentration.

For such a society, the lies that some incompetents and charlatans promote as “speed reading” become believable because, with minimal effort, people can lay their eyes on the text, skim it, and believe that they no longer need to read it entirely to remember the gist, the content.

Therefore, there is an indirect war because contemporary society, through the technology and social media services that it provides to the users, rewards:

  • indiscipline instead of concentration;
  • unfiltered summary instead of thorough analysis;
  • superficiality instead of depth;
  • novelty instead of quality;
  • appearance and form instead of content;
  • scanning the content instead of reading it;
  • fast labeling to the detriment of description.

Thus, speed reading, on the one hand, and marketing, on the other hand, become essential skills for those who do not want to replace the value of trained intelligence with artificialized intelligence using technological tricks. We are living in full the web 3.0 age, which I wrote about in the articleFrom www to web 4.0,” and we are heading to the age of artificial intelligence until 2030. In this age, those who can increase their reach using their computer without needing it to replace their intelligence will be the masters. At the same time, those who cannot develop their intellectual skills will be slaves doing the work of ordinary people.

Skills discrimination tends to be so rapid that those who choose to be unmotivated in certain circumstances would use the skills they already have or will not trust them enough to become sure victims. The generation that is now 30-40 years old hallucinating at the safety of a job where they can continue to do what they do now will find themselves in their 50s years bankrupt, indebted, backward, and without any chance of catching up with the generation which is currently working hard in vain in useless schools, while becoming increasingly immersed into the virtual world, ready to take the job of someone who thinks a second slower in 10 years.

These forecasts seem a little bleak, but think about the following things:

15 years ago, a man wearing headphones connected to an mp3 player listening to audiobooks was considered an alien in the public space. Now it’s social normality. So in 15 years, it will be weird not to have some sort of an electronic voice in your ear.

15 years ago, those who used PDAs were considered a little extravagant. Nowadays, everyone has more advanced smartphones than the most powerful laptops of that time. As a result, even the poor starving in Africa have internet access through increasingly cheaper digital devices.

15 years ago, many people were still using Yahoo Messenger for instant messaging. Nowadays, many people are connected non-stop to Facebook chat via smartphones. Moreover, in 10 years, more and more people will constantly use headphones for augmented virtual reality.

15 years ago, there were no 3D projections at the cinema. Nowadays, they have become weekly banality. However, trivialized holographic projections are to come.

15 years ago, being familiar with Windows XP and Microsoft Word was enough to get you to write “computer operating knowledge” in your CV. Nowadays, you need to know at least 10 dedicated software programs for any job, no matter how non-technical they may be. In 10 years, you will need to know how to operate holograms.

15 years ago, the prominent advertising and information channel was television. Nowadays, it is the internet. In 10 years, it could be brain implants.

The dominant way people get to know and learn has not changed: this has been and will continue to be through reading and doing. It’s just that there will be fewer and fewer people who will be able to use it, not because they will not be able to read, but because they will not want to. So an entire generation of parents who read less and less, as well as slowlier and slowlier, but that want results faster and faster will give birth to a generation of illiterates whose intelligence, discipline, and value can easily be supplemented by digital devices: a fine one to throw to the bin in front of the robots.

Now, if you read this article to the end, share it with others and ask yourself how many will read up to this point.

Thank you!

Happy efficient learning!

Marcus Victor Grant

Efficient learning specialist (speed reading, memorization, concentration, productivity, NLP modeling)

Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant 2016-present Translation by Cristiana Brezeanu of the article “Războiul invizibil împotriva citirii rapide “previously published initially by Marcus Victor Grant in Romanian on June the 15th, 2021 on Discerne. Originally written in 2016. Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant, all rights reserved. 

The materials on this blog are subject to this disclaimer.

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