This book aims to inform the non-IT specialist about the technological revolution that is taking place and, specifically, how the digital component of it is affecting our lives.
Author: Abbas Strømmen-Bakhtiar
Publisher: Informing Science Press
This book aims to inform the non-IT specialist about the technological revolution that is taking place and, specifically, how the digital component of it is affecting our lives. It is hoped that this information will fill possible information gaps in readers’ mental model, enabling them to make better-informed decisions. This book can also be used as a textbook in a stand-alone introductory course to the digital revolution and its effects on society. The course could be used in both bachelor and master degree programs in business management, healthcare management, sociology, or any other non-IT programs. Chapter 1. This chapter, although the longest, is a brief review of the interactions between technology, economy, and politics. The subject is a much neglected one, and I believe that understanding of these interactions is vital for understanding the underlying causes of some of our most important pressing issues. The chapter discusses the interactions between technologies, economy, and politics, examining the effect of technologies on economic development and political ideologies. Chapter 2. This chapter deals with technological revolutions in general and the digital revolution in particular. I shall discuss the components of the digital economy. These being: knowledge, digitisation, virtualisation, molecularization, integration/internetworking, disintermediation, convergence, innovation, sharing economy, immediacy, and discordant. In addition, we shall examine the disruptors that are changing the face of competition in the marketplace. Chapter 3. This chapter deals with digital transformation, i.e., the process of using digital technology in all areas of business, changing the way the businesses operate and deliver value to their customers. We shall examine models for dealing with digital transformation. Chapter 4. We shall examine one of the most important developments of the 21st century, namely the advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI). We shall look at how the human brain works and what is intelligence. We shall look at the artificial neural networks, machine learning, and deep learning. We shall also look at the deployment of AI in various fields such as healthcare, finance, Natural Language Processing (NPL), news media, and warfare. Chapter 5. This chapter deals with one of the most controversial and yet promising developments in finance and distributed secure databases, namely cryptocurrencies and blockchains. This subject is divided into two parts — the first part deals with the cryptocurrencies, and their viability as currencies. One of the most popular cryptocurrencies, the Bitcoin, will be examined in depth. The second part is somewhat technical and deals with the inner workings of the blockchains. As with cryptocurrencies, many see a bright future for the blockchains, especially in the form of smart contracts. Many believe that blockchains will be of great value in areas such as finance, handling contracts, healthcare and more. Blockchain promises to bring disintermediation to many industries and thereby reduce costs. Chapter 6. Technological revolutions tend to disrupt the lives of many middle-aged and older workers. New technologies give birth to new industries, destroying the old industries in the process. New technologies often require special skills that the old industry workers do not possess. The laid-off workers of the old industries can seldom find jobs in new industries since the new industries often rely on new technologies and skills that the old-industry workers do not possess. These workers need training, something that the prospective employers do not provide. Also, the new technologies, including AI, are automating many tasks, reducing the need for human workers. This chapter discusses the issue of automation and its effect on employment. Additionally, the type of jobs that are in danger of automation is discussed as well. Chapter 7. While chapter six discussed the employment situation, chapter seven considers the type of education required by the new industries. Also, the weaknesses of the existing educational system are considered, and alternative systems are proposed. Chapter 8. History tells us that whenever there has been a technological revolution, it has been accompanied by a shift in power, both nationally and internationally. The global shift of power has seldom been a peaceful affair. It often has resulted in major wars and global reorientation. This chapter discusses the possibility of the global shift of power. Currently, there are not that many countries or entities that can be considered as contenders. Of the three, Russia, European Union, and China, only one, China, is considered to have any chance of wresting power from the United States. The technological, economic and military power of China is compared and contrasted with the United States’.