Expanding

Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach tell us that no one of us is capable of doing everything by ourselves. Fortunately, we live in social groups. As members of these groups, we share our skills and knowledge up to the point that no one really knows anymore what is in our heads and what is in the heads of our fellow group members.

Because of the current lockdown, the contact with our social groups has changed. As we have seen before, we currently only have two social groups available to us: our group offline with the ones we live and online with the outside world. The most significant groups missing are the offline group of our friends and close acquaintances and the offline group of our work colleagues.

For us, as professionals, it is a loss that we do not have easy access to our work colleagues in real life. On the other hand, it also offers us an opportunity. Under lockdown, we can expand our social group offline way beyond the low hanging offline fruit of the past. We can include anyone in our new social group who is willing and cooperative.

There are already signs of professionals expanding their scope of peers with whom they cooperate online. Teachers are an example, but also scientists.

The big advantage of expanding our social group is that we get access to a broader range of skills and knowledge. Following Sloman and Fernback, this means that by default our own skills and knowledge are expanded too. So, it seems that the consequences of this lockdown are not all necessarily bad.

 

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