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Our Brains on Tech: How Much Is Too Much?

New technologies in 2020 may demand more of our already overloaded attention. Tech titans and communications companies are releasing advances like 5G and quantum computing that speed up the pace of information flow.

  • February 5th 2020

When it comes to technology, how fast is too fast? With so much information to digest already, how will we adapt to an even faster pace in the future? Tech titans and communications companies are developing innovations that speed up our ability to download, load a webpage, and feed our information appetite.

As part of Totally Wired: Our Lives on Tech at Aspen Ideas 2020, scientists and innovators discussed how the quickening pace of technology will affect our minds. Do we have the brain space for the advances 5G and quantum computing will bring? 

In October, Google announced a specialized computer could perform calculations at incredible speeds. The New York Times reports, Google’s quantum machine did a math calculation in under 4 seconds that would take supercomputers 10,000 years to complete. Right now, quantum computers, which cost millions of dollars, are stuck in the research lab. More studying needs to be done before these machines can be used to do things like power advances in artificial technology.

Meanwhile, 5G, or the fifth-generation wireless network, is at our doorsteps -- literally. Super Bowl fans at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami used 5G Sunday thanks to a partnership between Verizon, the NFL, and the city of Miami. Companies like Verizon say the latest cellular standard will reduce network congestion and download entire movies in mere seconds. The technology could play a role in artificial intelligence including with self-driving cars. Learn more.

Our technology track, Totally Wired, will also explore how tech is influencing (and potentially ruining) our relationships; who should be regulating free speech online; and why parents might want to consider posting fewer pictures of their children on social sites. Our Totally Wired discussions will be held June 30 - July 3 during Festival 2 at the Aspen Ideas Festival. Register today!

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