The transition from analog age to the digital one happened between 1950 and 1970. It was preceded by the agricultural and industrial revolutions that were both marked by the analog era. The digital age is a developmental stage that began as the information era.
It is more than obvious that the internet is currently the driving engine of the era. Internet, originally developed for communication within the army, penetrated peoples’ lives so fast that we barely managed to acknowledge it.
In 1957, ARPA, an organization founded in the United States during the cold war, developed a communication protocol that could communicate among several remote computers. More than a decade later, in 1969, four universities in the United States connected together in the ARPANET. Communication system among several people, today known as email, was developed as early as in 1972. Its use was limited at that time and only further development enabled a communication compatible with other computers. Communication language TCP/IP was created in 1982 and subsequently internet came into being.
And the evolution has continued. In 1989, Tim Berners Lee discovered a new way of information exchange and named it http (hypertext transform protocol). Until 1993, internet was used mostly for scientific purposes. A breakthrough came with interconnecting governments, institutions and big commercial companies that were establishing their presence online.
There is hardly a company without an online presence today. You are probably familiar with the saying – if Google does not know you, you do not exist. Via internet we announce our existence, where we are or what our opening hours are. We share information about our offers or prices and we also use this platform to look for new employees. It is a new limitless information-communication channel among people. We can communicate with anyone at any time. Internet has broadened our options and torn down borders. Whatever seemed impossible in the past, internet enables it today. It brings people, continents and opinions closer.
What does this mean for us and where is this development leading? Offers for selling goods on the internet expand with the same speed as does the number of its users. There are several global programs how to achieve maximal internet penetration. What drives this evolution is not only the growing network and services offered, but also current boom in different user devices, such as PCs, notebooks, phones and tablets.
Right now, smartphone is the device used most to access the internet with 72% market share in 2015 with tablet (15%) in the second place.
In my opinion, technology transformation will significantly influence our lives and will be present in private life of each of us. And what lies ahead of us from my perspective?
Interconnection between digital devices will be more and more complex and fast. The strongest economy will not be the one which produces and owns a lot, but the one that is technologically most advanced. Information and speed will become another step to advantages that move countries forward.
The ability to create smart technologies and to move forward will be the basic condition of success. Education will reach a very high level and will be available to every person due to accessibility of technologies.
Virtual reality will merge with the real life; it will become its part. Languages and culturally specific customs will not feel foreign to us, because technological systems implemented in many mobile devices will wipe out differences and misunderstandings between different groups.
We will buy services in the so-called packages that will enable us to use a certain service for a set period of time. We will not need to invest a lot in their implementation, everything will be offered in virtual reality. As road and motorways today have their maintenance crews and need repairs, technological routes will need more maintenance, governance and order, the more they will be used. We will need an office overseeing misuse of the information flow as a guarantor. As police today oversees adherence to law, virtual police will uncover any violations of the system and its rules.
Financial system as such will cease to exist; digital currencies – not just one, more of them – will appear, such as bitcoin today. These will replace standard currencies and will turn into a controlled system of economic management.
Bank system will be transformed, with location becoming irrelevant – everything will be freely offered everywhere. Inflation will be controlled to correlate with the amount of produced or demanded goods. There will only be “just in time” production – as we see it with cars today – that will eliminate storage needs.
Commercial companies that today represent the core of the world economy will be transformed, too. They will become a sort of hybrid units with a “core system” to which it will be possible to add structures that will be formed, developed and closed very fast depending on economic needs, demand and offer formed by technologies. Today, we are used to gigantic companies – they will not exist in this form anymore. They will become large units with independent management and these will enable production in the short time with high risk of not succeeding.
If the system manages to control the demand, the production and services will be set exactly according to the needs of the demand. Then we will reach a very high level of effectiveness managed by a general algorithm of financial world and trade.
Inflation and deflation, as we know them today, will cease to exist. The above-mentioned elements will not make it possible to manufacture goods that are not sold directly or to create more financial tools than what is necessary.
Human work will be limited to technology creating and all the rest will be done by machines, either of technological or biological origin. The future will remove all misunderstanding, difference and conflict barriers. In the end, despite advanced technology, evolution will still be driven by us – people.