What is to become of our future in the digital age? Will we become more fulfilled and enjoy prosperous lives? Or are we becoming more disconnected from our human values? One argument claims that we will live longer, better, and healthier. But on the contrary, people will be more lonely, stressed, and depressed than ever before.
So what will become of our future as this new age takes over every part of our lives? The answer is twofold.
What is the Digital Age?
First of all, let’s have an understanding of what the digital age really means. Nowadays it has been defined as the information age, the time period starting in the 1970s with the introduction of the personal computer with subsequent technology introduced. This laid out the first step towards providing the ability to transfer information freely and quickly.
But what does the digital age mean for us, average humans? Should we embrace it, alleviate its effects by neglecting change, or simply turn our backs on it.
How will the Digital Age impact our lives?
This generation and the next will be born truly digitally native. For them, the internet will be a background utility, noticeable only when it is absent. Smart homes and smart applications will work and encompass every part of our lives, all seamlessly and effortlessly.
We will be forced to abide by the rules and regulations of technology. Things are speeding up and becoming more complex, especially as we grow older. With a few clicks on our phones or computers, we can access nearly all of human knowledge that exists in our time. And this will expand even further as our technology grows. Will there ever be a limit? Probably not.
Life in the digital age is truly information-driven, with data becoming more valuable than oil for example, (companies will lash out to know what drives customer interest.) Insights gained from refining data will allow companies to spend money where it should be spent, saving them time and money.
Social media on one hand has become part of everyday life for the average person. And will continue to do so. According to Statista, there are over 2.6 billion Facebook, 1 billion Instagram, and 330 million Twitter users in 2020. While this is an astounding number that is still on the rise, they all fall short behind search engines. According to Techjury, there are 6.9 billion Google searches every day. Thanks to this, we’ll be able to work from home more often and even avoid settling down in big cities where real estate prices can burden our lives for years.
Relocation of homes
This can be viewed as the opposite of the industrial revolution where millions of people began flocking in cities, driving prices of homes up and cramping up spaces. With a laptop and the internet, people can now work from home more. More and more young people decide to pursue a digital nomad lifestyle or settle down in the countryside. The need to sit in an office or roam big cities, paying sky-high rentals will be on the decrease.
With all this, our interests and privacy are exposed more than ever. It is advisable to protect our data and for this reason, we’d recommend using NordVPN, especially if you go abroad to countries like China where you need a VPN to access social media and search engines without any concern.
The Rise of Startup Companies
About 20 years ago we used to think of startups as high-tech innovation ecosystems generated and clustered predominantly in U.S. ecosystems, such as Silicon Valley, Seattle, and New York. But as with so many aspects of American economic ingenuity, high-tech startups have now truly gone global and expanding in every direction. Shenzen, Berlin, Stockholm, Tel Aviv, Mumbai are all becoming tech startup capitols at their own pace.
The rise of startups becoming mega-corporations have become the very digital disruptors of people’s daily lives. Companies like Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, Peloton, and Netflix, are shaping traditional industries and consumer behavior. TV versus online entertainment will be a thing of the past, as home entertainment through the internet will take over. Advertising will work around people, seamlessly telling sequential stories to continue our materialistic life. Content won’t care about national boundaries.
Ecommerce over Conventional Shopping
With the rise of retail and rental prices, especially in the heart of big cities, eCommerce will be predominant for business and household purchases. Companies will be able to save big loads of money by avoiding sky-high rent and ship-on-demand. On the other hand, products will be made to order and shipped by autonomous vehicles. Replenishment is either handled automatically or by the press of a network-connected button.
On the good side, people live better and a more health-conscious life than ever before. Technology is also there to make lives easier. However, in certain cases, it leaves humanity pampered in comfort if things are taken too far. Nowadays, we barely have to leave our offices or houses to get food, a movie or any trinket we want.
However, we must address certain issues. The biggest downside to the coming of this age is the change in our work environment. Businesses are affected more by digitalization than households since companies encourage new technologies to leap ahead of their competitors, save some expenses, or innovate their products or services.
The Information Age has affected the workforce in several ways. One of the most evident concerns is the replacement of human labor by computers. Today’s graduates and employees are met with competition in a global job market. Automation can do human jobs faster and more effectively, thus creating a situation in which individuals are outperformed and become disposable.
In the United States, for example, from January 1972 to August 2010, the sheer number of people who worked in manufacturing jobs fell from 17,500,000 to 11,500,000 while manufacturing value rose 270%.
What changes will be experienced specifically?
I believe the biggest change that everyone experiences are the loss of the tangible. Life in the digital age will become more focused on virtual data, web design, cloud computing, software development, and AI. For this reason, handwork and crafting will become less significant.
As much as the average person is concerned, our work-life balance will follow a work smart not hard route. Those with the skills to automate their work with software or computer will have a better time accomodating changes. Whereas those who do menial works will suffer the most with mundane and repetitive job cycles.
Agility and Competition
Companies like Amazon promises a one-day delivery, internet connection is becoming faster, profit-driven organizations drive for greater growth, and innovation tackles every possibility to speed up our lives. Everything now works with a click of a button.
Economies compete over mass production, fast delivery, and quick services to outrun their competitors. So it is no wonder that our lives are impacted the same way. We can receive services faster and easier than ever before.
The vision of a post-digital era is still somewhat hazy, and nothing is definite. One must understand that people are creatures of habit. We will move to the opportunities posed in the post-digital era when they become socially and commercially advantageous.
There is also the issue of cybersecurity, which is already prevalent in our lives thanks to social media, search engines, and many other platforms that possess our data.
Even now, many companies are still working in silos, at least to some extent. One of the major shifts towards the real digital age will be to convert silos into “centers of excellence”. In other words, company functions will preserve their uniqueness when it matters (e.g. for confidentiality) but still operate within a holistic whole.
Part of this is going to involve a cultural shift. In fact, for some businesses, it will be a significant one. Technology, however, will be a key enabler for this shift. Essentially, by getting applications to talk to each other and share data, it will become easier for people to communicate across functional areas (read more).
Become Part of the Digital Age
Love it or hate, human nature is constantly in pursuit of innovation and development. This leaves us with little choice but to embrace new technologies the digital age has to offer lest we fall behind, or risk losing our jobs. In order to leave a footprint in the world, share your passion with the world or try working with something that the digital world embraces, you can launch an online business or create your very own website.
Why not try out creating a website where you can build your own content you love. With Bluehost, it’s simple, easy, and cheap to get started. You’ll have your own website in 15 minutes! So give it a try!