Digitization Enables the Deep Transformation of Our Society

Comments Off on Digitization Enables the Deep Transformation of Our Society
Digitization Enables the Deep Transformation of Our Society

The most invisible revolution in history, the Digital Revolution, is taking place all around us.  Unlike the Industrial Revolution that made a bold physical impact with its mushrooming of factories and urban centers, what we've termed the "fifth techno-economic revolution" is happening out of sight and behind the scenes. 

Picking up speed now, it has been unfolding at a slow, yet relentless pace for decades.1  As such, it has also been following the evolutionary path of most technologies, from precious, to widely available, to inexpensive, and ultimately, to a throwaway commodity.

Specifically, expensive mainframe computers gave way to the dawn of the personal computer, which led to the linking of inexpensive computers via the Internet, and which is now bringing us to the coming fourth stage, where computing will disappear into the cloud, and where landfills will be filled with discarded, outmoded computer chips. 

Information technology is already embedded in our lives, and as the revolution progresses, it will only increase.  Today, for example, checking in at the airport for a flight is as easy as tapping a few keys and buttons at a kiosk.  What we don't see are the many connections the kiosk makes and the conversations it initiates with other computers related to the flight, including passenger confirmation, flight status, seat choice, travel history, passport issues, and even aircraft weight distribution.  This all takes place without the intervention of a human. 

Another example of digitization is how supply chain management is being accomplished more and more by scanning and conversations between servers, and less and less by human action. 

Looking into the future, the day may come when driverless cars will maintain a safe flow of traffic via conversations taking place between cars and sensors in the road beneath them.  This type of task, as well as a myriad of other daily, automatic interactions in our lives, will be accomplished through the addition of billions of sensors and devices into our surroundings.  [We will explore this in greater detail in our analysis of the 50 billion Internet Devices trend.]

These examples illustrate where this revolution is headed and how it can be defined.  It will be a world where a growing number of tasks that were once handled by humans will be performed by conversations between remotely located servers.  It will be a virtual, digital economy that receives input regarding events and processes in the physical economy, processes that information, and then delivers information and commands back to the physical economy...

To continue reading, become a paid subscriber for full access.
Already a Trends Magazine subscriber? Login for full access now.

Subscribe for as low as $195/year

  • Get 12 months of Trends that will impact your business and your life
  • Gain access to the entire Trends Research Library
  • Optional Trends monthly CDs in addition to your On-Line access
  • Receive our exclusive "Trends Investor Forecast 2015" as a free online gift
  • If you do not like what you see, you can cancel anytime and receive a 100% full refund