How the Digital Revolution is unfolding: notes from DES2018

The Digital Revolution is a reality and in the DES2018 I saw it at full speed. I was at the DES2018 – Digital World Business conference held in Madrid last week and I can confirm that the social networking is old news. What is being discussed now is something else. There were three intense days leading speakers and excellent participation, with the topics focused on the new technologies that are already transforming the world: in short, companies and society in general must buckle up and be ready for important changes. It was an excellent event and could not ask for more: information and first quality network. It was worth the trip.

There was a great diversity of themes in the DES2018, but in the next posts I will share some ideas shared by key players in the digital landscape, and some lessons that caught my attention, namely:

  1. KPMG and IBM: the confirmation that we are entering a new phase of the Digital Age, as I mentioned in my post about what I call cyberlife, the third stage of this era.
  2. Accenture: the new marketing business to consumer, highly analytical, personalized and based on insights
  3. Opel: in an exclusive interview, let´s do a deep dive on the importance of analytics in business
  4. Mercer, the largest human resources consultancy, and the impact of digital in the business to business market and in people
  5. University of Berkeley: the challenges of Artificial Intelligence – amazing!
  6. Acalvio Technologies: the challenges of cybersecurity – scary!

Shall we start?

The waves of the Digital Age and the beginning of Cyberlife

The Digital Age (also known as the Information Age or Digital Revolution) started after the Industrial Revolution and in its first stage or wave it was characterized by the introduction of computers in our lives, and cybernetics was the word of the day, then. This wave was divided into two phases: the first with the introduction of mainframes in large organisations, and later, thanks to Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, its widespread adoption in companies and homes via personal computers.

The second wave, which begun around 1995, was characterised by the connection of these computers through the Internet and the emergence of cyberspace. Also, we verified two phases here, the 1.0 with the web and the widespread popularity of electronic commerce giving rise to companies like Amazon, and creating giants like Dell (a company with which I had the pleasure of working exactly in this phase) and the 2.0 web, with social networks (and with the emergence of new hi-tech giants). This second phase started about 10 years ago.

Now we perceive the beginning of a third wave, an extremely powerful phase which I call cyberlife.

It is the moment when the power of computers is added to the power of social networks and we have the emergence of cloud computing, widespread adoption of Artificial Intelligence, social analytics, machine learning, blockchain, among other innovations. This makes possible significant developments in different areas of economy, from genetic engineering to smart cities; from shared economy to autonomous vehicles. And, unfortunately, we also start to witness the growing risks of cyberwar.

Like all rapidly evolving technology, the technical challenges of cyberlife will be resolved before social and ethical challenges. We are living times of accelerated change, and the decisions of the future are played now. Will we know how to play this game well?