From Smart Cities to Smartphones, how Technology changes the world will determine our future!
We humans have built our reality on a relatively small set of basic principles that underpin everything else we do! For instance, we are instinctively social where we strive to associate with those of like mind and/or similar attributes to what we hold dear. Another base principle is our love of process cycles. Whether we like it our not, cyclical processes that are man made or occur in nature allow us to learn at a base level increasing our chances of survival and thus our sense of security.
In society’s continuing march across time, the evolution of currency gave rise to the financial paradigm in business. This paradigm effectively controls what is a good idea and what is not. With this reality, came the onset of lack of information, intuitive bias and also dogmatism at the top. The latter has often been driven by a fear of failing based on the experiences of others who lost everything on a good idea!
This financial paradigm held true through the industrial era and all the way to the 1990s when the dawn of the information era brought a new technology based information paradigm. This new paradigm shone a light on the power of technology and software in particular. It challenged the financial paradigm of decision making in new and data driven ways! As software matured past an Accountant’s best friend (a.k.a. spreadsheets) into more advanced technologies, adoption rates increased in business. Data driven businesses were proving to be faster adapters, better innovators and more responsive to environmental threats. In short, innovation has escaped its jail cell and is on the loose disrupting product ranges, companies and industries in its wake! The reluctance of Blockbuster to embrace the information paradigm was a death sentence to their business and a great example of the old saying ‘if you don’t pay attention to today, tomorrow may not be what you think it will be!’
In each and every era, the start of the era often sets the tone for what direction we go in as a society. Benjamin Franklin said at the effective start of the Industrial Era “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”. This wise and learned American understood the overarching need for everybody’s involvement to learn from and contribute to society’s journey in an era devoid of the will to do so. The will of the few effectively led to an era of progress in ignorance, which despite itself could not stall change in our society; ultimately giving rise to the information era.
At the effective start of the information era, we now have a society that is hyper-connected, education is no longer restricted to the rich and the ability to innovate is no longer blocked by the financial paradigm making it accessible to a penniless innovator with a great idea and the commitment to match it! From banks to brokers, everybody is taking notice as their money is on the line in businesses, which if choosing to ignore the driving forces of the information era may end up like Blockbuster. The information era is real, its here and its shaping our tomorrow!!
The concern Benjamin Franklin showed at the start of the Industrial Era related to how we as a society were going to proceed through the period and not what it could achieve! Interestingly, it’s still a valid statement today and yet you don’t have to go to Harvard to get a degree. This empowerment of the many makes the paradigm of yesteryear effectively obsolete as it places value creation through innovation above financial conservatism. It also makes anything possible for tomorrow’s world, which widens the question of society’s direction to the greater public who get to know about and contribute to where were are going. In short, our mean average will become more representative of our direction but in which direction will we go in?
Our direction thus far has led us to some dark days in the Industrial era, which can be avoided if we are to focus on learning from our past experiences and not repeat yesteryear’s process cycles because they are “safe”. Robert Kennedy once said “There are people in every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present and invoke the security of a comfortable past which, in fact never existed.” Despite the fact that the information era can easily make everybody learned, those legacy power centres can wage war on the idea that power can be shared and not lost thus depriving the information era of its potential to cater for society on its unstoppable journey though time!
If we are to reach our potential, we must reach a consensus and not victory or indeed defeat in the game of life. We will need to be accepting that change can be good when informed by facts; insightful value creation creates value and then makes money. Foremost of all and thanks to technology, the widest cross section of society can access education, be informed of facts and innovate at a rate that outpaces anything we have seen before making it possible for the majority, not the minority to contribute to our future direction. This greater voice can now reflect in what we innovate, how it is innovated, how government regulates it and what place each part of our society plays in the process! If technology has thought us anything, it’s that we can be only restricted by our mind’s horizon and guided by our core values as we make our way! When we navigate by such stars, the communal future we will create looks very bright indeed!
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