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The whole idea of the 4th Industrial Age is meant for people to change their way of living.
The Digital Age makes everyone who has access to the Internet, capable of doing and achieving greater things.
It is not only a cultural change, it’s much more than that as the socio-Digital economy, the socio-Digital politics, the socio-Digital technical spheres are transformed through the availability and accessibility of information. The “Democratization of Technology” has created more empowered people, who are more likely to demand a new way of living much more forcefully than anytime in the history of civilization except the times when city states were the habitual domains of emperors and kings who led narcissistically and encouraged revolt and subterfuge by their own individual limitations to care for others.
Today, habitation is no longer an issue. The ultra modern City of Dubai, now being powered by artificial intelligence, was built up from literally nothing, just sand. As more terrorism and idealism takes hold, urbanization is increasing, and the return of the City State is inevitable as the digital technologies that have emerged are capable of utilizing every non-diminishing and renewable resource such as sun, sea, and wind to build highly sustainable futures. The socio-Digital political space is being centered and contracted into more defined locales, with easy management of services provided through the utilization of digital technology.
Closely knitted communities are more likely to prosper and learn to demand and acquire their own space in the City State, with the possibility of collaboration for the common good a compelling argument for mutual existence.
The socio-Digital economic sphere is also being contracted spatially, as the digital technologies provide more food, using less land, and higher yields. The physical space needed is now being minimized, as technology driven, self sustainable farms continue to emerge rapidly. Use of non-diminishing, renewable resources, will drive efficiencies higher with less wastage, and greater effectiveness, reducing costs greatly. Self-sustaining Nations, like India, are now stronger as solar and wind energy drive food production even higher at greatly reduced costs. As internet infrastructure becomes more prevalent locally, there is the distinct possibility of achieving self-sustaining status.
Smart cities will become smart countries, using technology to educate and communicate with populations. There is no question that this is already being achieved in developed countries.
There are many ills to be solved through technological solutions as people begin to enjoy better health and live longer, due to reduced stress and workloads, the issue of working safer with minimum effort makes it very necessary to provide for those who will now have greater leisure and free time. Artificial intelligence, automation, robotics, drones and driverless, solar powered vehicles are set to disrupt with great force. The result will be more jobs for the younger generations in data Science and coding, innovations, inventions and environmentally friendly living, giving rise to a new world order.
Some countries are already experimenting with universal minimum guaranteed salaries in the form of grants to deal with the period of transition from mechanical labor intensive jobs to digital aged jobs. In other words, people don’t have to work, and the state will pay a guaranteed amount to every citizen. Finland is trying basic income for unemployed.
The ideal of a technology driven Trinidad and Tobago is not far fetched then. We have an abundance of sun, wind and sea, resources that can be utilized to become self sustaining. India, is very near to achieving this, and other countries are frantically engaging solar and wind as sustainability components.
The financial resources in T&T are not infinite and it takes Political will to move this country into the Digital Aged, Global Economy.
A much more transformative trajectory with far reaching effects for the longer, longer, longer term is needed to leapfrog into the Digital Age. This is a highly strategic approach designed to emerge our creativity and innovativeness, as more time is available for cultural maturing, technological savvy and intellectual and physical excellence now becomes a pursuit of all…digitally driven! The Digital Economy is one for the younger generations to prosper in a world that is exciting and new, where the pursuit of the higher consciousness is facilitated by automation, robotics, Artificial Intelligence, The Internet of Things and standards of living that are acceptable and favorable to all.
The Digital Age and Economy, offers an intervention capable of global transformation in living and learning and leading!
There is a great amount of disruption about to be unleashed on this world of traditional thinking, and, Is Trinidad and Tobago ready for that, in this the Digital Age?
The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Friedman, T
Global Trend towards Urbanization, UNESCO
The World Economic Forum, Education and Skills
Speaking recently to a friend, who is an attorney at law, he expressed a certain amount of doubt, even fear that artificial intelligence is a threat to his relevance. It is of course a valid concern…that is if another informed point of view is expressed otherwise.
It all started when I told him of a story which I read recently of law firms adopting Artificial Intelligence to augment their business capabilities and processes. My friend was of the belief that such technology might make him less worthy as a person, with the technology replacing him. Of course, I simply had to interject with the other side of the equation, pardon the expression which may seem linear, I suppose.
Legal practitioners are faced with the daunting tasks of researching, assimilating, developing insights and presenting cogent arguments that can affect people’s lives on a daily basis. Faced with huge amounts of legal literature to deal with, lawyers are often called upon at short notice to develop and present arguments to support their positions, to give advice and guide the legal process to try to ensure that justice is served. In many cases, their input is critical, as in times where very serious punishment is involved, such as execution. Lawyers are called upon to take their knowledge, Commitment and passion to the extreme limits, often pushing the boundaries further and further. These critical junctures requires accurate and relevant research at a moments notice.
Accuracy, in the context of relevant case law, demands every possibility be referenced and considered.
It is in the instance of the legal profession, Artificial Intelligence can be a huge benefit to the efficacy of the legal profession, without rendering anyone useless. Even at the lowest rung of the ladder in the hierarchy of the profession, effectiveness and efficiency can be greatly enhanced, thus making work a better experience, when one considers the stresses involved in high pressure, high volume environments.
At all levels, judgement and intellect is required to discern correctness, accuracy and relevance and veto, even when the results are narrowed to the least expandable level. The human judgement is needed, and simply cannot be reduced to irrelevance.
The same can be held for many occupations, professions and vocations. The technology will enhance and uplift.
The fear of the human being made irrelevant and replaceable has to be measured against the need for tacit knowledge, obtained through the acquisition of knowledge through academic endeavor and practice, giving rise to experiential knowledge, disseminated through wisdom.
The fireman or policeman removed from going into a dangerous, life threatening situation by an intelligent device, perhaps a robot or a drone to survey and report back are all possibilities like any other hazardous jobs, but will always require the immediate response of a discernible intellect.
People should embrace technology for what it is and meant to be : a tool for the benefit to humankind!
The World Economic Forum just concluded in Davos, Switzerland and its theme for the 2018 Conference was “Creating A Shared Future in A Fractured World.”
The theme is reflective of the world today and the concerns for the future. In an era of self-interest punctuated by Brexit, immigration refugee policies and building walls, indeed there are fractures. The dismantling of net neutrality, the restrictions on immigration to developed countries, and refugees pouring into Europe are all factors fueling this time of protectionism. The America First Strategy deepens the already fractured global economy and slows down trade. It no wonder world Leaders came to defend free trade with the intention of frontally dealing with the issue of global trade and its slowdown.
Apart from the issues of immigration and self preservation, the wider global issues of climate change were at the forefront of most leaders minds. Prime Minister Modi spoke to Climate Change, Terrorism and Globalization as threats. The topic of Globalization was dealt with in the context of some “societies and countries more and more focused on themselves.” He also said ” it feels like the opposite is happening.” Certainly, such posturing by some countries are contributing to this fractured world, leading to the problems with climate change and other global economic issues.
In 2017, the United States announced its intention to withdraw from the Paris Accord. The effect will result in more degradation of the environment, threatening sustainability of many countries as climate conditions continue to deteriorate bringing more powerful storms and other natural disasters. The effect on food production and economic activities are negative on rising food prices and the costs of living with severe societal consequences. Prime Minister Modi identifies these threats and brings it to the forefront.
Countries such as small island states are being decimated and destroyed by rising sea levels, more powerful Category 5 Hurricanes, with flooding and destruction as a result of higher surface temperatures. Climate Change is an existential threat as Leaders chose to ignore its effects on the wider world.
Despite the real opportunities of the Digital Age and the 4th Industrial Revolution, the threats are real, and Davos 2018 appears to acknowledge these negatives but attempted heal the fractures before more irreversible damage occurs.
The Fourth Industrial Age continues to hold the interest of the conference as the focus shifts to the use of digital age technologies as societal benefits. Blockchain takes centre stage as a foundational technology for greater accountability. The applications scope of this technology is wide and varied and can be used in many different ways. It will add great benefit to open societies as transparency gives rise to more efficient and effective delivery of public goods and services.
In less developed nations, its adoption and use as a catalyst for good governance has emerged. Blockchain is scalable and robust, and it will deliver positive change.
The world is witnessing a phenomenal period of unprecedented technological advancement, mostly exciting and sometimes scary, depending on one’s point of view. The emergence of transformational technologies has created a vacuum between skills and emerging jobs, between the traditional and the digital. In many instances in previous ages, technology has intervened to solve a problem or improve a system, playing a temporary, just in Time role in creating a solution. Innovations have moved the technology forward but only at a linear rate. The wheel for example, stepped in to facilitate the movement of goods, the steam engine facilitated increased production, the railroad facilitated the train powered by a steam engine that opened up pathways and new markets. Innovations led to cars, new societal norms and quality of life. This new age of digital disruption is different because it destroys traditional processes. The railroad has become the Internet, the World Wide Web the vehicle for delivery. Products and services can be delivered on the internet via the Web, instantaneously. However, it is the speed of innovative creativity on the Web that has outpaced people needs and wants, and people lag behind the technology in finding ways to implement and benefit in ways still unknown. 3D Printing goes far beyond the manufacturing of consumer products. Health issues can be ameliorated as tissues and organs and prosthetics can be custom made. It’s zero-wastage capability will add significant value in the manufacturing value chain. Inputs will be recyclable thus creating a beneficial environmental impact. Robotics and Artificial Intelligence will make jobs safer and more effective, thus creating new streams for investment, research and development, and a world that is more environmentally clean. The world no longer has to wait for technology to catch-up with its needs, but the world must catch-up with the technology. The technology doesn’t wait, as traditional is not only being disrupted, but eliminated. Case in point, Kodak. There is exponential growth : Facebook, Uber, Airbus, WhatsApp, Crypto currencies, Blockchain, driverless cars, drones, Robotics etc. The list is long. Coal led to steam engines, oil lead to combustion, the new age of alternative, renewable energy in solar, wind, wave and ambient energy are all real and becoming entrenched. Electric powered vehicles such as cars and drones are changing our landscape of everyday living.
Cloud Computing, The Internet of Things, Augmented Reality, Artificial Intelligence and Algorithms are Digital Age technologies set to literally explode in the short to medium term as their value become more apparent. Blockchain, Robotics and 3d Printing appear as evolving technologies capable of completely disrupting traditional systems of manufacturing, and delivery. With the Internet of Things fast becoming a reality, Cloud Computing, Big Data, Algorithms etc will demand greater computing power with the vast amount of unstructured data being generated and collected. The development of Quantum Computing is imminent with the need. Alternative energy in solar, wind and wave and ambient environment energy are being developed as good sources, whilst there remain possibilities in other areas of clean energy as research and development persists. Many possibilities and opportunities will become apparent, as entrepreneurs are currently doing with great effect. Elon Musk is a great example of how to capitalize on these, to great effect.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) Davos 2016 formalized Industry 4.0, the Digital Age of Technology, or The 4th Industrial Revolution, ushering exponential growth through the digital disruption. Speed and accessibility is the growth force with the Internet enabling almost anything to be designed, produced and delivered direct “to-the-home.” A 3d printer can be purchased and located in the home, a design of a product can be accessed on the Internet, chosen or even customized to your liking, and printed in your house. Household items like cups and plates, personal items like clothes can be customer fit and printed. There are instances of tissue and organs being made at medical facilities for patients, and prosthetics also custom fitted and made.and Drone technologies are being designed to carry loads delivering products. The opportunities and possibilities are endless. Online direct home delivery, of goods and services such as telemedicine, food, clothing and critical services are now all very possible.
Business & Society in the Digital Age
For Business, Cloud Computing, The Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Algorithms and Augmented Reality present avenues for creating value throughout the Supply Chain. Access anywhere, anytime for the business to operate virtually, always reachable to the customer, management and suppliers. The November-December 2017 Issue of the Harvard Business Review emphasized “Why Every Organization Needs An Augmented Reality Strategy” written by Michael Porter and James E. Heppelmann. Blockchain, a foundational technology promises to disrupt and innovate every process for accountability and transparency in Government, Business and Society. In an age where good governance can bring significant benefits through the inculcation of high integrity and adherence to morals and ethics, Blockchain is powerful tool.
These technologies have simplified but solidified business organizations in all aspects of management and the Value Chain. Organizations who embrace these technologies swiftly will reap the benefits of leadership in the marketplace by engaging customers in a way that has not been possible until now. The new era of value adding technology in front of the customer is now.
The Internet of Things will encompass big data, Algorithms, Augmented Reality to ensure customer focus, high efficiency and operational effectiveness in business, Smart Villages and Cities will emerge, allowing better governance, compliance and accountability.
China is in the process of implementing a National Smart Car Strategy, employing Artificial Intelligence (AI) and eventually this will evolve to electric powered cars. AI goes well with Augment Reality to provide safer, more efficient driving and journey planning.
Societies embracing technology such as Blockchain, demand greater accountability and transparency from Government and Business. It is a culture shift in the making for small and developing countries in a pathway setting global standards as the “Democratization of Technology” takes effect.
Energy in the Digital Age
Powering the Digital Age requires a high consumption of energy. Bitcoin , for example, consumes large amounts of energy and Cloud Computing requires large amounts of energy to power data-centers. The Digital Age is about endusers each carrying and operating a devices(s). Each new device adds to the amount of energy consumed.
Devices used in the Digital Age, The Internet of Things, will be an unprecedented volume of smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, servers, totters firewalls, cameras, sensors, drones and cars. The energy needs are increasing by the minute. It places a huge burden on energy resources which are finite. The depleting resources traditionally used to generate power are increasingly under threat from environmentalists as well as the needs of consumers. More pointedly, there is an urgent need to develop alternative, sustainable sources of energy.
Solar, wind, wave and ambient energy sources are being developed at pace. Solar has advanced greatly as countries are now adopting the technology in far greater amount since it first began. Lower costs and more reliability and scalability has given it a special appeal. So to is it’s cost of setup and maintenance. In comparison, wind farms are more costly to setup, operate and maintain. Ambient energy is now being developed, and the possibilities are very encouraging.
Given these inventions and innovations, it makes encouraging readings into our future on this planet earth.
Threats & Opportunities
However, whilst there will be great opportunities for improving the standard of living, there are also new threats to be dealt with. Even so, CyberSecurity opportunities abound because of the new playground of those skilled enough to engage in deviant behavior. The opportunity for law enforcement is huge, especially in robotics designed to deal and encounter physical threats, as well as cyber-threats of bot-nets, ransomeware and intrusion. The influence on good governance is needed as behaviors, rule of law and enforcement can be a cultural shift.
There are opportunities for growth and development. The Digital Age offers many of such, especially in the environment of dwindling resources and aged infrastructure, plants and machinery. Large amounts of effort, costs and bold initiatives are being expended at a time when the wealth of nations are being preserved through strategies of diversification in their respective economies. Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in technology, and so too are the United Arab Emirates whose appointment of a Minister of Artificial Intelligence speaks to their trajectory. For small countries, and under developed Africa tremendous strides are being made as technology meets agriculture and people.
It is an amazing meeting of technology, people and land causing an inflection point on the continent. It will be a place of great opportunity. The opportunity is now. First movers are always Leaders but the challenge will to maintain that leadership which requires foresight, Forward thinking and the will to improve and be better. Africa, the awakening giant!
World Economic Forum, Davos 2016.
Harvard Business Review November-December 2017 Issue
Friedman, Thomas L. The Lexus And the Olive Tree. New York : Anchor Books, 2000, pg. 46, The Democratization of Technology.
The truth about technology is that it lures us into a thinking that we can all be equal, and that we can be just as good as others. The “Democratization of Technology” ensures that foundational technologies are available to all. Smartphones, tablets, iPads iPhones, Android, Java and python are commonplace today. There has been an explosion of innovation and creativity that has spawned millionaires in the software world from applications to apps, from Algorithms to Artificial Intelligence to Robotics. The Digital Age is an Industrial Revolution capable of tremendous disruption because of this accessibility and availability. It can bring unimaginable benefits in efficiencies, cost reduction, environmental monitoring and evaluation, and sustainability given the foundations laid during the past Industry 3.0. These benefits come with a price though , which impacts directly and forcefully on the traditional.
The Human Learning
The emergence of operating systems such as Microsoft Windows, Apple’s IOS, and Android all created a very easy and standard way of doing things, one in which every individual on the planet can learn easily and quickly. It’s now easy to operate a personal computer of any kind, be it a desktop, smartphone or tablet. Almost everyone can use MS Word or Ms Excel.
Accessibility to technology has become affordable and available to all, on a global scale and anyone can download software, music or videos. Knowledge is available, online. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has a free online platform, MIT OpenCourseWare, where MIT classes in Computer Science can be learnt. Learning new skills are easy and readily accessible online.
Microsoft’s standardization of the desktop operating system created the platform for ease of use, knowledge acquisition and sharing, globally. It really “democratized” Technology, created a wave of innovation as programmers now found ways of computerizing processes. The software development generation took off with great speed, overflowing with innovation and creativity as gaming and business applications burgeoned.
Global IT organizations emerged and prospered in the Information Age. Entrepreneurs, like Gates and Jobs Built empires form scratch, and other individuals were emboldened to pursue careers in consultancy, design and development.
Fast-forward to today, in the Digital Age of Machine Learning, Algorithms, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing and a growing reliance on cloud computing, global platforms like Facebook and Uber, and suddenly there is a real need for re-skilling and retooling.
Wonderful possibilities to create and innovate as digital technologies disrupt the traditional. Growing of crops take a new image as sensor technology can provide huge benefits in growing extra-large volumes, in technology driven mega-farms. Drone technology to deliver fertilizers, monitor and evaluate conditions with analytics generated by Algorithms, availability and customer services through apps.
What about the tremendous opportunities that lie in medical services, governance & government services, education and environmental sustainability as pollution and emissions level are monitored real-time. Huge possibilities in improved standards of living as driverless cars, law enforcement and civic society are impacted by technology. Human Learning, ingenuity, creativity will provide many sustainable endeavors.
Learning new skills are key for sustainability.
The Future State
Technology influences society. Throughout history, technology has impacted society in very positive ways. Certainly the cynics will articulate their point of view, which I believe is important for balance, but I wish to focus on the positive side of the equation. In an increasingly lawless society, technology such as Cloud Computing, The Internet of Things and mobile computing can deliver a distinct advantage to law enforcement in tracking and apprehension. Robotics also enter the equation as potentially dangerous situations encountered by law enforcement can be mitigated, as also in the case of civil society were there are particularly hazardous jobs.
Telemedicine will deliver fast and efficient services coupled with driverless, solar powered, augmented reality cars, the stage is set for a new kind of service delivery model. Deployment of personnel will be quick and accurate, as smart-home, Smart-Cities become a reality.
Drone delivery of goods are advancing at a rapid pace as Amazon and Google ramp up their efforts. It will herald a new wave of innovation and creativity. These are just a few of the many, many opportunities availing themselves in this new age.
The Rise of City States, the Smart City Approach
The emergence of the City State is fast approaching, and implications for governance are far-reaching, as accountability becomes open an transparent. Blockchain is a foundational technology with real enforcement power, especially in public procurement.
City states such as Dubai, are implementing technology at a rapid and advance rate, throwing state resources for creating the society and governance that is futuristic. One might admit that it is an existential threat to the politico of the West, because of the example Dubai illustrates, but the standardization, globalization and adoption of universal technology, Digital, will create change in societies of the West. Microsoft is building its own city, and so is Google.
Tel-Aviv connects its citizens via free WiFi and app, which won the 2014 World Smart Cities Award in Barcelona. India has invested usd 15b in a Smart Cities Mission program in a mission to develop 100 cities country-wide to make them more “citizen friendly and sustainable.”
Political regimes faced with an increasingly knowledgeable society, may not be able to continue along traditional lines. They will be disrupted, by technology if they procrastinate, hence the major push to a technology, innovation-driven society. The challenge is really how society adapts. For Trinidad and Tobago, this is an imperative for sustainability as indeed for many other island nations in the Caribbean.
The encouraging, positive aspect is accessibility through standardization, Globalization and adoption that provides the platform for growth and development…and change!
On behalf of Augmented Consulting™️ let me wish you a very happy holiday season, and thank you for your readership. This blog was created to enlighten and inform and we will continue to do just that!
See you on the other side of 2017.
Is your company made up of a CEO and 3-4 Executives who make key decisions?
From the excerpt below, this Harvard Business Review article tells you why you should not be doing this and much more.
“In general, therefore, we suggest that CEOs avoid delegating input on strategic decision making to groups of only four or five people. To be sure, smaller teams reduce coordination and communication costs and reach consensus faster. But larger teams have more information-processing capacity and a greater diversity of perspectives. We recommend enlisting 10 to 14 executives when it comes to debating the company’s long-term strategy. (More than 14 is inadvisable, because members of very large teams tend to disengage.)”