Two things have struck me recently. The first was the horrific story which showed that in the US, almost two-thirds of US Millennial and Gen Z adults were unaware that 6m Jews were killed in the Holocaust (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/16/holocaust-us-adults-study). The simple truth is that a majority of people under 40 are not accessing what we’d refer to as bona fide news sources.
The second came whilst watching The Social Dilemma on Netflix. It is becoming increasingly clear that we are all now in some form of Matrix where our data is used and recycled frequently to control our everyday lives.
Fake news, deep fakes, cybercrime, algorithms manipulating the masses, loss of privacy, mapping of ‘digital selves’ and the rapid entrance of artificial intelligence into all aspects of human society all point to a dystopian future.
Welcome to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In the First, coal and steel ruled. The Second saw factories and supply chain management form the bedrock of business. The Third saw the introduction of computers to create systems and processes. Today’s world is all about data, algorithms and connectivity.
Whoever controls these, has ultimate power – hence the tussle between the US and China over TikTok as well as the furore about Huawei being given the contract to supply the UK with 5G technology.
As ever, what does this mean for your average business? I go back to the three elements essential to power and influence in today’s world:
- Data – how you store, process, protect and manage it will dictate how successful your company will be in the future.
- Algorithms – these determine everything we see online. Working with these formulae will dictate how visible you are to your stakeholder audiences.
- Connectivity – becoming a ‘digital-first’ business is essential if you wish to compete in today’s marketplace
However, to ensure you have all these elements in place, you need to have a digital transformation plan for your business. As I’ve written about in previous articles, there is no more Business As Usual. You HAVE to plan ahead and make your organisation as adaptive and agile as possible to meet the challenges of today’s topsy-turvy world.