Who’s Afraid of a Digital Planet?
On one hand, these are the worst of times. We are confronted with unprecedented challenges. Critical indicators have been breaking records — for example, the rising levels of carbon dioxide in the air and the extent of human displacement — exacerbated by refugees fleeing conflict, drought or floods, and other calamities.
On the other hand, these are the best of times. Expectations of what can be accomplished with technological innovation and its impact are at an all-time high in some of the most influential quarters — from Silicon Valley to Wall Street and even in many government offices worldwide. Technology enthusiasts at the annual gatherings at Davos remain routinely enthusiastic about the possibilities of a “fourth industrial revolution” — a blurring of the lines between physical, digital, and biological innovations. The optimism of many business leaders remains undented even as increasing vulnerabilities have caused citizens worldwide to question their trust in the emerging technologies.
There is great trepidation about digital ecosystems right alongside great enthusiasm.