An excerpt from our book “Digitopia”
Digitization is the buzzword of all times, it is the talk of the town, it is in every article, you will see it where ever you surf on the internet. It is reflected to Government strategies; and also recognized in many public sectors from education to health, to justice, to defense. Moreover, it is the foremost first agenda item of the private sector. From Industry 4.0 to the digitization of banking, from digital transformation in retail sector to service industry… In education sector, our kids are prepared to the new capabilities of 21st century with STEM and Maker concepts, the new experts of the digital age are being trained. In summary, digitization is a topic which is in every aspect of life, in the interest of people from 7 to 70’s, that will affect everyone.
Ok! But why is it so trendy? Why is it so important?
Important, because it is inevitable. Inevitable, because it is required. Required, because it is useful. How? Let’s have a look at it one by one.
Scientific and technological development always existed. Human being has always been curious about the “better”, so searched and found it since stone age. Stone age ended not because the extinction of stones. Humanity moved on to other ages as we found metal minerals and solved processing them.
As we talked about earlier, humanity met internet, mobile communication and social networks. We can step back, we cannot let go our earned rights, freedom and comfort. All the people using these are forming the current age and forming the basis of information society and economy. Loosing these is impossible.
People are expressing themselves via them. People are finding the love through them. People are overcoming obstacles by the help of them. People are finding jobs using them. People are handling their tasks by using them. People are entertaining, learning and sharing by the help of them.
Digitization has an incredible effect on the quality of life.
It is impossible to stop or even slow down the curiosity of human being. Scientific and technological development is unbelievably fast. The number of existing scientists is at the peak of all times. They are releasing scientific publications like never before. They are sharing these publications with the whole world easily like never before. So the cumulative effort of humanity is producing science like never before.
There is a huge number of entrepreneurs who are converting this science to technology, and then the technology to applications and innovation like never before. There is an investment capital to fund these. And there is a private sector who is fond of these solutions produced. There are many and mature ecosystems who are bringing together entrepreneurs, supporting and coaching them like never before. In an environment like this innovation and entrepreneurship are developing unavoidably.
The small or global giant players of technology sector are working at full speed to spread the digital technologies. This effort cannot be for nothing. They are providing business models, service options, payment facilities and usage advantages to convert their technologies into value added solutions. Thus, private sector’s only burden remains to learn and use of these systems.
Private sector and governmental institutions started to realize the importance and advantages of digital technologies to improve their processes, to compete, to reach more customers, to grow their businesses and to control their cost. Early birds already started to walk the path. New comers, and the ones who will realize via this book will join the digital transformation train urgently and will make use of the outcomes.
In these circumstances, digitization and digital transformation is inevitable. Digitization is an absolute necessity to be competitive, to develop the business, to solve some problems and move forward.
Inevitable, because required. Required, because useful.
You cannot do some things without digital. It is extremely difficult to deliver some services to country side, to low-income areas. But, when you develop an application, you reach to everyone, who has a smart phone, with equal quality. From health to education, from communication to information services. Digitization is required for democracy and freedom.
Imagine that you are delivering all public services to everyone through e-government and mobile government applications. How much do you improve the service quality and how much does the service cost drop? Isn’t it awesome? It will happen eventually. Estonia is the leader country in digitization.
There is a very important change going on in the health industry. Smart phones are being used as analyzers as of now. Also via video calls you can reach any doctor in any part of the world. Also by the use of big data, artificial intelligence is now being improved to understand which symptoms are causing which diseases and how. Daniel Kraft is telling this in a very fluent and summary talk and giving very good news about the future scenarios.
Think about the potential in education. Top quality education can be offered to all people in the world via digital technologies, internet and mobile devices. Salman Khan instantly became Khan Academy when he uploaded the educational videos he prepared for his cousin. MOOC phenomenon appeared in 2010s. The most significant universities of the world started to record and share their lectures and courses online. Harvard and Oxford are now reachable by everyone…
You will find tens and hundreds of similar examples in this book. Technological development is essential for advancing humanity and develop our civilization as well as is inevitable. Thus digitization is very useful.
In 1943, Thomas Watson, the founder of IBM, predicted: “I think there is a market in the world for only 5 computers.” Glad that he was wrong. We now have at least 1 computer on each desk thanks to Moore Law and Bill Gates’ vision The destiny of many sectors, companies, countries, families, people changed, generally in a positive direction.
The victorious journey of mobile communication will be a significant milestone in the history of human kind. It was perceived only for the rich when it was initially launched. However, by time, it is spread, got smaller and cheaper and now over 5 billion people are using mobile phones.
Lots of applications are making life easier for us. Mobile accident report is a good example. Your location, your details is already known to your mobile, you only fill car plates, licenses and attach photos of accident and send it to police department. That’s it. No paperwork, no arguments, no nothing. On the spot solution.
In many sectors there will be an increase in efficiency, quality will increase, work safety will improve, customers will be more reachable and moreover new capabilities will be developed unless otherwise wouldn’t be possible, all thanks to digitization.
Let’s think about energy network. Energy need to be produced. Needs to be deployed to the consumption points. Finally, should be distributed to the final consumers in cities and manufacturing facilities. The consumption per contract point needs to be measured. There are lots of inefficiencies during this process. Now we are moving slowly towards smart networks. Most of these inefficiencies will be fixed thanks to digitization and related advanced technologies. Much cheaper energy will be delivered to people.
Another good example is mining. Mining accidents are common in many countries. And results in many casualties. People are literally buried alive. Why would you send people under the earth? Rio Tinto, one of the largest mining companies worldwide, now researching ways of using automation and robotic technologies for doing the same. High technology, autonomous vehicles and remote controlled mining equipment are developed since 2010’s especially in Australian Mines.
Lots of similar examples can be found. Digitization brings another dimension, makes everything more reachable, cheaper and scalable, removes obstacles and generally makes things richer in content, fun and informative.
Ugur Candan, Mehmet Nuri Cankaya and Halil Aksu wrote another book years ago: “Everything is naked.” They described Web 3.0. In that book, technological development was described as states of matter.
Web 1.0 is like more of a solid state. More static, one way, more solid, not so flexible. Low energy level. We can say this is valid not only for web but also for all digital technologies of 80’s and 90’s.
We entered to a new age and a new millennium in 2000’s with Web 2.0. We as the user were creating the content. There was a two-way communication. The authors of the book said this was like the liquid state of the matter. More energy level and more atoms. Contact points and communication were increasing unavoidably with the increase of online people, and thus more content. The world was changed forever for better or worse…
According to the authors’ analogy, the matter would be gas as a result of energy level increase. Meaning, the third state of Web 3.0 or digital technologies will be like gas. Gas state of matter has many very important properties: Mixes easily, easily distributed, the bound of atoms are weak, fits everywhere and so on…
Everything will change when the internet of things connects billions of things, when these connections’ big data meet artificial intelligence, and when every human being on earth has a smart phone. We will consider everything “broken” if it is not connected. We will see everything dumb if it is not intelligent.
We can connect Web 3.0 and/or 3rd technological revolution to the 3rd industrial revolution. Jeremy Rifkin wrote about it on his book “The Third Industrial Revolution”. You need to listen to his talk as well. Nowadays he is giving consultancy services to European Union and People Republic of China.
Industrial revolution was not only a technological advancement. Sure, steam engine was a technological trigger. It affected every part of life from economy to public, from politics to art.
Kondratieff Cycles is one of the best models that describes the advances since steam engine. According to this model, information technology is the fifth cycle. According to the model, every cycle takes about 60 to 70 years. As the information technology cycle started in 70’s, we can assume that it will last till 2040’s.
Every cycle’s technology keeps developing. Steam engine is still used even today in hydro energy power plants. Train and locomotive technologies, combustion engine and petrochemical technologies are still being improved. Sixth and seventh cycles will be in different areas: Biotechnology, nanotechnology, or advanced energy technologies. However, the underlying information technology supporting will be undoubtedly “digital technologies”.
“Digitization” is an essential ingredient of humanity from now on, like electricity, the wheel, steam engine, petrochemicals, television, Swiss-army knife. Civilization develops by using these like building blocks and by finding new usage areas.
Digital technologies’ irresistible lightness and light-speed made a very fast entry to our lives, from 7 to 70, with rich and fun content options, we loved them. They are an essential part of our lives. That’s why, we need to find logical and valuable usage areas for them and move forward.