Social experiments were very common when I was in high school, but anytime before that we were not explained how they work under the guise of protecting us. What they really did was try to avoid allowing us the faculties needed to see through the delusion called god.
So all generations prior to today were ill equipped to handle the latest social experiment developed by an unknown individual. The fact is that we don't walk faster as a species, but some cultures do have a faster pace than others.
This is not what the article said, the first one stated "studies show that humans now walk faster." Looking at the title objectively you can see that this explains exactly nothing about what scientists have discovered, but this was the wording chosen to sell news.
Most people only read the title, even other reporters, and eventually the title of "scientific studies determined that we walk faster than we once did." A laughable and easily dismissed claim, I have historically walked at a faster pace than almost everyone simply because it's boring to walk across the city.
So I paid no attention to this headline, as with pretty much all headlines containing the word "scientific." Genetically, the speed at which we walk is limited to our form of locomotion, muscle development, and skeletal stride, all of which there was no significant change during the last 100+ years.
Socially though, our paces fall in line with the social groups we tend to associate, many times leisure paces are encountered in my region, and in moat of the USA. An average of maybe 1 mile per hour, I walk twice that on average.
Then this article hit the news media, about a month ago it caught attention and mainstream media started reprinting the article with only enough changes to make it not plagiarism and a new headline. The result, people have actually started walking faster.
This is the perfect example of social engineering, demonstrable change in social behaviors based on a popular claim even if said claim opposes any actual evidence. This was not the original intent, as far as I can tell, but the result is now undeniable.
This is not an isolated event either, society is more easily swayed by popularity than by facts, we see it's effects every day for such scams as "organic," "all natural," vaccines, and religion. This is why almost everyone who "finds god" in a region becomes a member of the most popular religion of that region, the rare exception to the rule occurs in areas with more diversity, like Seattle.
Society is the most pliable substance of the organic species, even in other species of animals it is relatively easy to alter their behavior with enough decoys or aesthetic pressures. The hardest thing to change though, individual behaviors, when someone is an individual among a majority it is virtually impossible to convince them to change, and for good reasons.
An individual is often attacked or even pressured by the majority to conform, even if subliminally. The very act of pressuring someone to behave like the majority causes a fight or flight instinctively driven reaction.
The very defiance of the majority is, in itself, healthy to the species because it prevents the extinction of better ideas, the majority and popular opinion is most often incorrect or even dangerous. Very few societies have come to understand this, and even fewer have known this long enough to see the results of what is labeled a "secular society."
Secular does not mean atheist, nor does it focus on just religion, secular means that all ideas are taken on their own merits and popularity or opinion of the masses is not considered evidence for the idea's validity. Everything plays on an even field.
The result is a better society, like in Sweden, than in those who base it all on popular opinion, like the USA. Democracy has a place, but as it is really just popular opinion, it cannot be allowed to censor the facts of any matter.
That is the secret to Sweden, facts are presented on equal footing, evidence is not censored just because it offends someone, but said evidence must be supported by facts and not claims or religious bull. This is not what the USA does, actually the USA constantly attempts to censor the facts and even replace evidence with claims, as a result we are a much less haply society and prone to kill each other over stupid ideas.