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Environmental stimuli from cavemen to generation thumbs

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The caveman wakes up and sees the same panorama every day: the zebra, lion, and scattered trees. A person today wakes up to the instant simulation of their phone, a convergence of distraction.

The savage caveman goes hunting for food, a full-time job. Today’s person orders a Starbucks latte from bed to pick up on the way to work.

The caveman communicated in pictures because they didn’t have notepads. The millennial generation consumes more information on the screen in a day’s worth of tweets than a caveman consumes in a lifetime.

The caveman adapts to his environment. The modern person controls his environment, from the cities and parks to the genetically modified crops.

The human brain adapts to anything. But advancement comes with unintended consequences, surely more good than bad.

Listen to this Podcast: HBR IdeaCast: 477: How Science and Tech Are Changing the Human Body

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.