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All sectors of activity are heavily impacted by the digital revolution. The latter includes 5G, first used on a large scale by Korean Telecom at the 2018 Winter Olympics, making it possible to transmit data roughly 100 times that of present 4G. The “digital tsunami” includes IoT- internet of things. It is anticipated that 50 billions objects will be connected by 2020, offering an environment, which will be exploited by the “hackers”. It also includes big data & analytics, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain.
These techniques concern all economic sectors, turning business models upside down and displacing jobs. The internet puts in direct contact consumers with suppliers of offerings, cutting out the “middle person”. It makes it possible to accumulate large amounts of data, valuable to certain organisations: “data is the commodity of the XXIrst century”. Expected to be particularly impacted are the healthcare sector-it has been laggard in this area, manufacturing, entertainment & gaming, “fintech”, as well as driver-less means of transportation, automobiles being the most visible, and somewhat problematical. One country, Estonia, transformed itself into a digital zone.
Our societies sometimes feel brutalised by this poorly explained “revolution”. Concerns about cybersecurity evoke $2 trillions of economic losses worldwide in 2020, as a result of “hacking”. The annual Def Con cybersecurity conference (August 2018, in Las Vegas) is well attended. Corporations are contemplating “image” and stock market-value disasters much bigger than the massive Facebook /Cambridge Analytica scandal. “Mitigating risks in a dangerous world” seems to be the operative phrase…
Serious ethical issues are not debated. Algorithms themselves are not “neutral”, as they assume a certain set of values and choices. The case of driver-less cars is obvious. On the other hand, there is concern about citizens’ “ownership” of their private data. Europe’s GDPR constitutes an early attempt at strengthening regulations on private data, in full force in May 2018. “Smart regulation” must “protect” citizens, without stifling innovation and freedom.
On the other hand, 5G requires a dense array of antennas, which may well create unease in the public, faced with an industry, that has the clout to corrupt language, so as to make “technology” mean “information technology”. As a response to this running wild horse, there is sporadic “resistance”. Examples include: some people prefer queuing at human cashiers, rather than dealing with charm-less machines; for others, “the more digital the world becomes, the more handwritten notes I send”. The “lights and shadows” of the digital brave new world will be discussed, with speakers from industry, Universities, and IMD.
The nature and implications of the digital tsunami, characterised by the advent of 5G in 2020
The opportunities and threats of this digital revolution
security and privacy issues
All managers and executives, since this revolution affects all activities