With so much more information - so many more choices - change will come faster. Add the rest of the world and it's even more dramatic. Half of humanity lives in information conditions like those of Adrian 100 years ago. Roughly a quarter lives in information conditions like those of Adrian in the '50s or '60s. All of these people are trying desperately to catch up, realizing that better information is the path to better lives. As they do, change will accelerate in their world - and ours.
These changes are dramatically reshaping cultures and societies right now. The Christian Science Monitor recently reported on changes in family structure in China where, for centuries, life has centered on a strong family unit. The eldest male has been the family decisionmaker. With all generations living together in a single household, he decided what work everyone would do and whom everyone would marry. But in major Chinese cities, that's being swept away in a single generation. Spurred by huge growth in manufacturing jobs, China's young people are making their own career decisions, choosing their spouses, and living on their own.
With massive poverty and a third of the world's population, China and India plan to leverage their people into the 21st century through information and technology. And they are proving it can be done - progress some Americans fear will come at their expense. But if someone asked you what single global resource is the key to future human progress, what would you say? Energy? Raw materials? Technology? The answer is the vast reserve of human intelligence, creativity, and productivity that goes wasted every day. Why? Because billions of people can't get enough information to develop their native abilities.