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Conclusion

  • Sangaralingam Ramesh
Chapter

Abstract

The purpose of this book has been to evaluate the role of innovation in economics, the factors it depends upon, and how innovation emerges over time. The latter is achieved based on a historical analysis of several civilisations over a 10,000-year periods, but starting from the emergence of humanity from its origins in the savannahs, jungles, and forests of Africa. At this time, invention and innovation would have been driven by the motivation to survive, and much of it would have been driven by instinctive intelligence. For example, that it would be safer to sleep high up in the trees at night than on the ground, and that being in large groups would be safer than remaining solitary. However, the evolutionary development of cognitive intelligence only occurred in Homo Sapiens. This cognitive intelligence represents the ability to think, invent, and innovate based on environmental information received via sight, hearing, feeling, and smell. For example, Homo Erectus would have seen fire, heard it, felt it, and smelt it. At the same time, Homo Erectus may have come across deer or antelope ‘cooked’ by wildfire and tasted it. It would then have put its limited cognitive capacity to use by harnessing fire, by creating the conditions required to start it and to cook the animals it had caught or the kills it had taken from other animals. The cognitive capacity of Homo Erectus would have been limited compared to its successor, Homo Sapiens, principally because the brains of Homo Erectus young stopped growing after birth. Nevertheless, the brains of Homo Sapiens young continued to develop years after birth, giving Homo Sapiens far more cognitive capacity than that achieved by Homo Erectus. The latter unknowingly aided this evolutionary development by eating cooked meat. Eating cooked meat facilitated the evolutionary transition of the large body and small brain of Homo Erectus, to the smaller body and larger brain, packed with many more neurons, of Homo Sapiens. Nevertheless, the role of neurons in intelligence and creativity is being actively challenged. In this case, new evidence suggests that the glia, the matter between neurons, perform two functions in brain physiology. Firstly, the glia can replace themselves, as well as neurons acting as stem cells. Secondly, the glia may act as stores of information. It has also been found that higher intelligence requires a higher ratio of glia to neurons. Thinking triggers the firing of neurons in the brain. This process will connect the different regional glia, allowing for different information stores to be accessed simultaneously, and for thoughts to form. Experiences and observations will be connected through a thought process, allowing insights to form, with creativity and innovation following. Therefore, intentional actions, such as learning, may be best at directing the pace of technological change in some phases of innovation than in others.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sangaralingam Ramesh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department for Continuing EducationUniversity of Oxford, Rewley HouseOxfordUK

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