Etapas evolución de la Era Digital

The waves of the Digital Age and the beginning of Cyberlife

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Digital Age, Ethics, Future, Innovation

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?

Strategic decisions in the Digital Age

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The ability to make sound decisions is probably the main requirement that is expected from an executive, in the creation of a strategy or implementation of  the plans. But, in the Digital Age, we need to rethink how to make decisions on such environment. With the currently abundance of data and factors such as hyper competitiveness, permanent revision of business models and the pressure for innovation in increasing speed, it is expected that there will be an important influence of such an environment in decision making. Time, in the Digital Age, is of essence, for example, but there are other factors, of course.

This blog will not venture much into the cognitive or psychological part of how the influence of such new environment occurs. What interests me most is to identify what is happening and what are the challenges in the Digital Age that change (or not) some important marketing and communication practices. From there, my goal is to search for some principles – and learn from them.

Because deciding in the Digital Age is, surely, reviewing beliefs, practices and imagining the future in a way that is not simply a continuation of the past. It is risky in nature because digital technology is only beginning to present its possibilities. Therefore, we have to learn or learn.

The dangers of reductionism in decisions

Reality, as Martin and Smith observe in their Harvard Business Review article on the limits of management as a science, is more complex and we should not think that with more data, algorithms and AI we will always make better decisions. That can be a dangerous reductionism.”Innovators often incorporate scientific discoveries in their creations, but their real genius lies in their ability to imagine products or processes that simply never existed before”, they comment. That is, we must find the logic in the uncertainty, and in the same without all the data find solutions, which is, after all, what is expected of an executive. As Martin and Smith also observe, “the data is nothing more than evidence, and it is not always obvious what this evidence refers to. In addition, the absence of data does not invalidate a possibility. If you are talking about new consequences and behaviors, then naturally there is no prior evidence. ” The Digital Age is not just bytes, data and algorithms, much less the linear continuity of what science prescribed in the past. It’s much more than that. It is, as it was with other similar revolutions, the effect of new technologies on society in a way that is sometimes disruptive and unpredictable. Therefore, we have to understand it well so we will be to play with fire: all the possibilities that the digital technology opens to us.