“Digital Disruption” has been a key buzzword in almost all Business and Technological discussions in last few years. The way Digital technologies disrupted our age-old outlook of life & work. As happens with every innovation, the impact of Digital Technologies started with a very narrow adoption (remember IBM computers in 1970’s & Mobile phone entry into early 1990’s). But unlike earlier inventions which took couple of decades to become a mass utility, Digital revolution took couple of years to reach and surpass adoption stages never seen earlier in history. Internet led the fuel to this fire and it was a matter of few years when we saw Digital Disruption 1.0 rampant with SMAC (Social Media, Mobility, Analytics & Cloud) covering and impacting every nook & corner of this world.
Digital Disruption 2.0 took this rage even further by incorporating the power of Smart Phones enabled Apps, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Drones to name a few. It is just a matter of couple of years and emerging technological advances like 5G that we will see these innovations part of our life day in and day out.
The law of nature is simple: Every new advancement in Human life has a time-period and change is the only constant. Same applies to Technology as well. A simple glance at history in last 200 years proves this point. Wired Telephony systems, Telegram, Electronic Type writers, Combustion engines, et all died their natural death as new, faster and more efficient systems were developed. Speed of Technology adoption is directly proportional to Ease of use, low Cost and form factor. Moore’s law has been a proven concept.
Digital Disruption Cycle
Digital Disruption 1.0
The advent of Internet changed the way we Lived, Worked and Played. The main theme was all about Convergence. Convergence of Voice, Video, Data. Connectivity played a big role in enhancing our Digital capabilities. Organizations which failed to understand and adopt Digital capabilities either perished or got out of business. Mobiles became a common tool for everything we do. Technologies like Mobility, eCommerce, Aggregators to name a few, which changed our outlook became an essential part of our lives.
Digital Disruption 2.0
Data created a new paradigm. Billion-dollar startups using the power of Data became instant successes. Old age economies perished. Data availability and Information which can create some impact about how we lived made it possible for humans to use the power of Mobility and Data to enhance their life experience. Big Data, Analytics, Automation and Sensor driven controls creating new ways of doing business and new revenue streams. Smart Cities, IOT and Analytics is changing our universe.
Digital Disruption 3.0
Though Digital Disruption 2.0 is still in its growing phase, we are already hit by a new wave of Disruption: Experience. Enhancing experience in every aspect of our lives, changing our interaction with machines and non-living world has resulted in a new wave of Digital universe. AR, VR and AI with Robotics and High-end automation are going to enter our bedrooms. Amazon Echo and Google Home are just the beginning. Gesture enabled communication, Self-driven vehicles, Energy efficient devices and self-healing components are going to transform everything we have today.
Digital Disruption Cycle De-Mystified
An age old saying we have lived with “Too much of something is bad”. Couple this with Charles Darwin’s theory “Survival of the fittest”. Each digital cycle has its own birth and death. We have seen technologies like Telegram reigning our communication space for around 70-80 years, only to die a natural death. Newer ones like Electronic Typing machines lasted even lesser, say 40-50 years. PC is still here but lost a big market to mobility devices like Notebooks and mobiles. Every new cycle is shorter and shorter. That is the law of Digital Disruption, as we may call it.
As we see the cycle progression in the figure earlier, too much of technology in our lives will only lead us to a Deflection stage of Digital disruption. We already have concepts like Technology Detox being talked in our society. People especially younger ones are seemingly getting a bit “bored” with technology in every sphere. Though this might be higher in Developed countries like US, we are seeing such effects also in Growing countries like India. Few social organizations have already started pushing back for use to too much technology especially in Kids.
Digital Deflection is the stage where it all reverses. We carve to go back to our old life, use more of mechanical or manual controls around us. Not to let our lives auto-controlled by devices.
Though it is too early to predict anything around Digital Deflection, going by our historical experience, the time will be sooner that we think.
We should not be too much dependent on Technology albeit most of our daily chores and operations are getting Digitized. For one it helps in saving time, cost and energy. However at the same time, it is also not very incorrect to say that we will continue to see technology overtaking humans. The Deflection point is round the corner and history shows us that every phase of human growth has a natural end.