Blog: The Unhidden Mysteries of the post-digital era
Flashback to some 15 years ago when it was an intriguing thing to have our phones talk back to us or trust the famous female voice on Google Maps to help us navigate our way through an unfamiliar journey. Fast forward to 2019, Alexa and many more digital technologies are part of our lives. In fact, we can’t imagine what our lives were without voice assistants like Alexa! Well, maybe you can! Fair enough, now try to imagine your life some years ago without Google Search.
Indeed, Digital has played a significant role in many lives, industries and remains at the heart of many business strategies. It has gone a long way to define how we live, how we work as well as how we interact. The digital era has birthed so many disruptive business models. In the past years, Digital technologies have given us designer babies (thanks to genome editing!), Spotify, Deezer, Netflix (thanks to Machine Learning!), Chat bots, etc.
More than ever, Digital technologies have inspired us to believe that indeed, if we can think it, then, it can be done. Digital era has taught us that there could be more.
As interesting and disrupting as many Digital Technologies have been, the fact is they have become the new normal. The fact is we are currently living in the post-digital. These times are upon us, this era is special and it is bringing something new. In fact, there are really no mysteries as the post-digital era is now! The real mystery is what how will this era change and impact how businesses operate, how we communicate, how we live and work? While there are some mysteries to this, it is important to make some predictions of what will be, based on what we know now.
Most important element(s) of the post-digital era
What will the post-digital era bring?
Personalisation! More personalisation: We have seen the ways in which digital can optimise users’ data to create personalised products and services. My favourite example and one close to my heart is how Netflix uses Machine Learning and Prediction Analysis to create personalised movie recommendations for users in such a way that no two Netflix are entirely the same.
Digital has created immense opportunities for brands to have greater access to consumer data. Consumers are already aware of the vast amount of data companies have access to and knowing this, in the post-digital era, consumers will request for more personalised products. More importantly, consumers and users will ask, ‘how will this company use the data about me to satisfy my needs in this area?” ‘’you have access to my data and then what?” For brands and marketers, this means that more than ever, consumers will yearn for brands study and form relationships with them almost as lovers understudy one another. In coming years, data will even more disrupt the ways that brands operate in a dynamic and powerful way such that consumers will only trust and stay loyal to companies, which creatively use data to meet their needs.
In fact, users will be even more knowledgeable about the use of data, so much so that companies will receive more emails and queries in this regard:
‘Dear Marketing Manager, I am aware that I gave out my information about this and that but I am unimpressed/impressed about how you have used such information’’.
Improved Knowledge Flow and Dissemination: Digital has created huge platforms for knowledge sharing. It has presented opportunities for everyone who with smart devices to be content creators and analysts.
In the coming years, knowledge flow will be even more democratised and present more disruptive opportunities to share.
The question is, “In the coming years, will digital drive knowledge sharing so much so that it will drive traditional schools to be obsolete?” This has proven to be true with the rise of home schools across the world as analysts predict that many as half the colleges and universities in the U.S. at risk of shutting down in the next couple decades as remote students get comparable educations over the internet.
While this trend suggests new business models and opportunities for colleges and institutions, it also raises the question as to the quality of individuals we will all emerge to be as this happens. Would we better, mentally fit individuals without learning in groups within the four walls of a class?
Opportunities veiled as ‘machines taking over humans’:
Over the years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) have remained a buzzword in many industries. A number of reports state that AI is the thing — the thing that will finally replace humans. In fact, Forbes report that technology has taken over 90% of the jobs that humans used to do. In my opinion, I believe that in the coming years, digital technologies will empower more future-thinking entrepreneurs. Those who can anticipate post-digital trends as well as find opportunities to incorporate their value propositions with emerging technologies will create the most disruptive ideas, products and services. There may be job losses but the future of work belongs to those who can see beyond the digital era, those who work with the break things ideology based on post-digital predictions. In fact, studies predict that by 2027, 50% of the workforce will be freelancers.
Finally, the post-digital era will present two paradoxes: it will create more inclusion and more exclusion. For exclusion, I believe that it would drive the world further apart. Indeed, for digital inclusion, social media platforms have been applauded for making the world a small community and I do not in any way contend with the fact social media platforms such as Facebook has redefined communications. However, in the coming years, I see a cult building as technologies will become more complex to use or understand the technology behind it (e.g BlockChain Technology)
This would create more culture divides between those who understand how such technologies work and those who are unclear about it. In fact, I believe that it will create more culture misunderstandings between those who were born with these technologies and those who are trying to make sense of it (Case in point: Gen Z vs Baby Boomers).