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Half a century on, world worse off in many ways, says cube inventor Erno Rubik

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In nearly half a century since the inception of his iconic Rubik’s Cube, the world has changed for the worse in many ways, plagued by climate change, overpopulation and wastefulness, its Hungarian inventor said.

The multicolored 3x3x3 puzzle, which has become one of Hungary’s most prominent innovations, is still popular among young and old, with hundreds of millions sold worldwide.

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Erno Rubik, 78, an avid gardener growing succulents in his state-of-the-art house in a Budapest suburb, said while technological advances had improved the world, the overall
balance of changes was negative -- meaning education to combat the challenges and a link to the physical world are vital.

“Nature has systems that can restore balance if it becomes dislodged,” he told Reuters on a terrace of his house dominatedby square-shaped features, also designed by Rubik, an architect.

“We have upset this balance drastically,” he said. “For me, the most painful thing is that we no longer seem to know what being humble, economical or sparing mean.”

Rubik, whose most famous creation relies on focus, problem-solving and a hands-on approach, said the role of education was paramount in preparing younger generations to tackle the fallout.

“A lot more should be invested, not just money, but attention, energy, and intellectual effort so that upcoming generations should be better prepared to cope with our mistakes,” he said.

Rubik also cautioned against the excessive use of digital games and devices by children, saying these narrowed the scope of their learning opportunities in the physical world.

“If I see reality only through a virtual lens, that diminishes the experience drastically,” he said. “It is as if you are not reading a book yourself but have someone summarize the contents of the book to you.

“We are beginning to lose our connection with the real world,” he said.

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