We are now so far into the digital age that many of us cannot remember life before it. The digital revolution, that historians say as extending between 1950 and 1970 has changed life as much as the industrial revolution of the late nineteenth century did, or perhaps even more. The “revolution” phase may be considered to be officially over now, and we are at the stage of “assimilation”, which may continue for another century or so before the next revolution changes life yet again, hopefully for the better.
This global digital economy accounted for 22 percent of the world’s economy in 2015, and is slated to rise to 25 percent by 2020. This is only natural, given that in a few more years, the millenials, having been born in the era of transition from “revolution” to “assimilation”, would be the generation to populate and run the world. The digital world in the near future will be driven by five emerging technology trends, according to Accenture:
Intelligent automation: The merging of artificial intelligence (language processing, machine learning, machine vision etc.) with automation driven by stellar improvements in machine learning techniques, developments of space-age electronic hardware such as sensors, and phenomenally high computing power, promises a new era of productivity and innovation. Even two years ago, venture capital investment in ventures related to robotics and artificial intelligence exceeded $600 million all over the world.
Liquid workforce: It has become imperative for the workforce of the digital era to be fluid and constantly update itself to keep up and perform in the dynamic, attractive and co-creating work field. The “liquid workforce” is characterized by autonomy, co-creation and a multifaceted skill set. 37% of executives surveyed by Accenture believe that retraining their workforce is more important than it was 3 years ago.
Platform economy: The creation of online structures that allow a wide range of human activities has significantly changed the way we work, socialize and create value in the economy. The platform economy has optimized internal processes to facilitate external interactions instead of the traditional orchestration of resources. Platforms have been important sources of innovation in the past few years; in 2014, nine U.S. platforms were awarded 11,585 patents. Many platforms have now become household names globally, e.g. Amazon, Apple, Google and Alibaba. Some platforms, although not global, are widely used in specific geographic locations. E.g. Rakuten (Japan), Delivery Hero (Germany), Naspers (South Africa), Flipkart (India) or Javago (Nigeria).
Predictable disruption: While disruption in an industry is not necessarily good for companies, it is inevitable for growth. The digital revolution has heralded disruption in many traditional sectors (e.g. digital photography), but the good news is that the very same digital revolution results in ways and means to predict disruption in the near and far future, so that companies can begin reorienting goals and meet the disruption head on. Being prepared can turn a disruption into an opportunity for growth. This obviously is intimately connected to the liquid workforce that must be willing and amenable to morphing with the disruption in order to emerge unscathed.
Digital trust: The rapid growth and proliferation of technology in day-to-day life, including financial transactions result in the need for implicit trust on technology through legitimacy, effectiveness and transparency. The challenges to our understanding of trust include a better grip on cyber security vis-à-vis privacy maintenance, establishment of ownership for digital behaviour and development of algorithmic decision-making processes. The theme of the recently passed Safer Internet Day 2017 was "Be the change: Unite for a better internet", in keeping with this need for Digital Trust and its importance in the year to come. While the first four emerging technology trends are focused on digital business, the last one, Digital Trust touches the human in the digital society. As individuals, we must learn to protect not only ourselves, but also our children, who are now born into a world that has integrated technology into every day life.
The role of digital trust cannot be understated. Given the pervasion of internet into homes, through various devices, not only is protecting our money and business important, but also our humanity. This is particularly true with respect to our digital native generation, whose biological appendages are now being permanently augmented by electronic ones. We, at Mobicip, take digital trust very seriously, and believe in empowering people in this area, and we are happy that we are not alone. A plethora of information is available online, and there are dedicated sites such as CarefulParents.com, that help in sharing important information about digital trust in parenting. Such platforms provide a convenient place to get reliable information on what digital natives are up to in the digital world, and the real, so that we can raise them to safely meet the trends of technology in the coming years.
The difference between “revolution” and “assimilation`” is that in the former, man adapts to a new development, while in the latter, the development adapts to man. Thus, the fear of a robot uprising, that existed among the naysayers during times of revolution has slowly been replaced by human empowerment – the ability of man to control developments and morph it around his own existence.
Writing credit: Co-authored by Lakshmi, a Mobicip blogger & keen observer of digital trends with unique insights on the effect of technology over people and inter-generational variations therein.
Mobicip is the creator of the most powerful and extensive internet safety software for tablets, smartphones and computers in households today. Learn more at www.mobicip.com.