The Digital Transformation Is In Full Swing
Will the digital transformation help us on getting greener or will we just get sucked in and lost in the the process?
How things unravel don’t always make any sense, however how we choose to give it some sense makes all the difference.Here is a short story that can all make us think a little deeper.
Who has been to Boston? What a beautiful town, especially in winter time!
That is where I was during the last big winter storm hitting the East coast. I was walking back to my hotel wondering in my thoughts in the cold streets of Boston.
The Liberty hotel was where I was staying. An amazing place, that was before being a hotel, believe or not a prison.
Feng Shui Masters were called to eradicated all the ghost and evil spirits poured down there.
That is basically what Feng Shui is, the art of depolluting and harmonizing the energies of a space. And boy did they do a great job ! Having a drink in former cell rooms transformed into bars was incredible and just carried you away to what the prisoners might have experienced….without the drink !
This hotel was beautifully warm and cozy. I was in the cold dark street, still walking in the middle of the blizzard, leaving deep marks in the snow, with all the video gear I was carrying. I was coming back from the MIT just a few miles away after my day work.
The MIT in cooperation with Cap Gemini had gathered experts there from all around the world to share the research on the digital transformation we are now going through. And I was helping them making turn this subject into a documentary.
Now Just Imagine 100 years ago before the Digital Transformation when life was so simple.
People only had one toy, they maybe had one radio, perhaps one phone line and maybe a refrigerator.
Technology Has Exploded At a Breakneck Pace
Since then, We have seen the birth of:
- Mainstream computers
- The Internet
- Robotics in Factories
- The Explosion of Tablets
- Social Media
- Self Driving Cars
- Drones in the sky.
and a zillions applications !
Yet, Today while some people are already in the future…this future.
Others still live in the stone age.
There is a wonderful quote from the science fiction author William Gibson that illustrates that. He said “the future is already here, it’s not just evenly distributed.” What he means by that, is that different parts of the world become aware of changes and embrace them at very different speeds.
Well, I am going to share something with you. That is as exciting as it is fighting. Something that is going to leave a profound impact on how you think.
Something that most people, especially the eldest, do not want to go in and hope it will just go away. But it won’t. And, It’s not going to happen in just one industry. No sector of the economy is going to be spared. Nobody will remain unaffected by it .
The Digital Transformation is on its way!
Sarah Connor could have said something like that….that for those who ‘ve seen Terminator.
Anyway, while I was crossing the bridge to get to the other side of the river.
Fighting the cold and the wind, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I’ve heard. Especially the story that best illustrates the Digital Transformation.
It was the inventor of the game of chess presenting his invention to the emperor of India. The emperor was so impressed by the eloquence of the game that he told the inventor that he could name his own reward.
The inventor said: “All I want is just a grain of rice on the chess board.”
Surprised the emperor said: “That’s it?”
The inventor said: “Yes, All I want is one grain, that we will put on the first square of the board and double that grain at each new square.
Meaning 2 grains on the second square, 4 on the third, 8 on the fourth, etc….”
He added: “Since we have 64 squares on the game, just give me the quantity of rice that you will find.”
The emperor said: “you really are a humble man. So make it so.”
Now those of us who’ve had a little math, realize how much trouble the emperor was in.
That constant doubling, called compounding, adds over time and reaches numbers that absolutely stagger the imagination .
So by time you get through the 64 squares covering the entire chessboard, there would have been a pile of rice.
Bigger than Mount Everest.
Bigger than what has been produced by all the humanity.
In the entire history of the world.
Digital Technology And Mores Law
The first one is the Mores law applied to technology.
That is the constant doubling of computer power every 18 to 24 month.
Meaning that our digital technology is getting exponentially more powerful.
What ‘s interesting in this parallel between the Digital Transformation and the grains of rice,
is how things get really strange in the second half of the chess board game. That’s when the numbers get really, really huge. This is when the emperor of India realizes how badly he was tricked and being in so much trouble to fulfill his word, has the inventor beheaded.
Because, After 32 squares there are a few billions of grains of rice,
….which is a lot.
But this is about of how much rice you would get after harvesting a large field. Right ? The emperor hasn’t given up his kingdom, hasn’t lost is fortune and….
….The inventor hasn’t lost his head yet.
It’s only once we get in the second half of the chess board that things really change, and all of our intuition, all our precious experience just vanishes.
Some quick calculations have been done by the USA Census bureau.
They started tracking information technology has a category of corporate investment in about 1958. If you take the normal doubling period of Mores law every 18 months, taking 32 of these doubling periods when adding them to 1958, it turns out that we enter the second half of the chess board, in about 2006.
Now, this is, of course, a silly little calculation they did, but it indicates something.
It indicates why it is just in the past few years that we have seen so profound changes and innovations. Think about when the internet was created. It was a change but we were still in the first part of the game. Things were still slow and manageable.
Today Everything is Fast and Smart
- Smart homes
- Smart cars
Smart humans ? Um… could that be ? Did we really change since the beginning of mankind?
Did the Digital Transformation really transform us and made us smarter? Or are we just getting smart in the way that we are transforming into robots and cyborgs?
With some chips here and there, outside and inside. When do we stop really being human and when do we start being robots?
Anyway, since 2006 we are now in the 2nd half of the chess game. The second part of the game is where we feel the power and impact of the new technologies. And if there is any truth to what I just shared the only conclusion. Is that we haven’t seen anything yet !
The changes and innovations that we are going to see in the years ahead are going to make everything that has happen look trivial.
If that’s the case, the only smart strategy is to start embracing and leading the Digital transformation.
Or should we?
We have never seen so many people digitally connected and yet completely lost and confused.
How many friends on Facebook?
How many connections on Linked?
For what purpose?
We have lost our natural way of interacting with nature and each other. Most people absorbed in technology, do not get out for a walk and text while eating. This is the tree hiding the forest.
We are in similar times
When man harnessed the power of fire.
When Galilee discovered our planet was round,
When Christopher Columbus discovered the new World.
We are the generation of change,
At the edge,
Of a total meltdown
Of our beliefs, traditions and behaviors.
We are muting as a species.
With the good, the bad and the ugly.
So as the quote goes :
Have The courage to change what you can,
the force to accept what you can’t
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Ladies and gentleman, welcome, to the New World !