Good Morning Brave New Future, Welcome to the All Digital World

Aug 19, 2020

When you were a child and imagined what the future brave new world would look like, what fanciful images came to mind? Flying cars filling the sky, portals that allowed people to instantly travel from one place to the next, highly intelligent robots filling public service positions throughout the world, the ability to finally talk to our dogs and cats? But, did you ever think we would be living in an all digital world?

When I was younger, I was enamored by comic books and television shows that imagined a technologically advanced future where human needs and desires were met instantaneously. In the future, I was sure that humans would teleport and navigate the universe in huge starships where artificially-intelligent humanoid robots did our bidding.

I believe we are already in the future. We are just in denial that we are in the future.

Waking up in the middle of the year 2020 looks quite a bit different, wouldn’t you agree? While we are making great strides toward filling our streets with electronic self-driving cars and online algorithms allow us to communicate via video screens from every corner of the globe, we are still in the process of making our futuristic dreams a reality.

Yet, for all of our slow advances toward our physical future, our digital reality is beyond our wildest expectations and consumes seventy-five percent of our waking hours. In fact, while we are still trying to get cars to fly, the capabilities of the digital world have seamlessly connected into nearly every facet of our lives. When it comes to our technological advances, we truly are living in the all-digital future!

What Will the Digital Future Look Like

Need proof of our all-digital life? Take a look at your typical morning routine. You are gently roused from your slumber at the peak moment with a soft, electronic vibration from your smartwatch which is reading your heart rate and sending your vitals to a cloud-based application for later review.

Once you open your eyes, you reach for your smartphone, which is charging wirelessly next to your bed. Smiling for the facial recognition software, your phone comes to life and buzzes you with a litany of daily news briefings, current weather conditions, a text from your friend on holiday in Spain, and your daily to-do list. Before your feet land on the ground, you hit a button on your phone’s smart home application that turns on your coffeemaker downstairs.

You wake up and wash your face with a tap-activated faucet, which regulates the amount of water you use to ensure you are protecting the environment. You throw on a sweatshirt you received yesterday in a digital subscription service box, tell Alexa to turn on your lights, and head downstairs to your home office.

AI in an all digital future
You sit down at your laptop and log in to your VPN (which flies through the sign-in process thanks to your high-speed gigabyte fiberoptic wireless internet), and a pop-up message comes in from your coworker across the globe. They are already at work prepping for this morning (their late-night) meeting and want to know if you can video chat to discuss specifics. You are about to start your video chat when your smartwatch chimes:

*Stock Alert- Bitcoin Prices Down! Buy!*

*New Deposit In Your Online Checking Account.*

*Your Coffee is Ready!*

Suddenly it hits you — everything’s gone digital — including me!

The Pros & Cons Of Our All Digital World

If you haven’t realized it yet, here’s your wake-up call. Digital has invaded, and it has successfully taken over every single facet of your life. Just look at this interaction we are having right now as you read this article. You are likely reading this at home, probably on your smart phone. I’m at my house writing writing the article. Through the use of Medium, we are digitally interacting in ways that were impossible just a few years ago.

We’re in an all-digital environment.

So the question must be asked: Is this all-digital world the culmination of years of dreaming of what could be? An unfortunate bi-product of the societal shifts, or is it the beginning of a dystopian nightmare?

On one end, our all-digital world has made our planet much smaller and connected. As technology allows us to become increasingly connected online, I can reach out, locate, and make contact with just about anybody. This is a huge leap forward for humanity and brings unlimited potential to the world of business. Not only can a single individual create a global enterprise singlehandedly, but they can do it through a series of fashionable photographs on social media channels.

 Arthur Schopenhauer Quote about truthConnectivity brings efficiency and productivity to an entirely new level. We can complete tasks at the click of a button, and complex algorithms handle in seconds what once took the human mind hours to accomplish. There are more code, processing power, and technology in the palm of our hands than was used to send the first space shuttles to the moon. We can send money digitally to one another instantaneously, and access to online databases can allow us to see any piece of personal data about ourselves at a moment’s notice.

 

Yet, for all this dramatic advancement, our world has become increasingly loud and angry. And the digital world can also has negative consequences from bad actors if it is not monitored and properly safeguarded.

Constant connection to our devices has created an online world full of malice and division, with echo chambers pushing agendas and silencing individual voices. I myself feel the weight and exhaustion that comes from scrolling through online news and social media feeds filled with shocking and horrifying images, videos, and words.

Being connected to in this way has placed the world on my shoulders and dampens my emotions. I must be a voice for every movement, have an opinion on every event, and have to tirelessly create engaging content to keep myself relevant. All this stress from tiny screens and an invisible digital world causes me to ask some important questions:

What damage is this always-on world doing to our mental, physical, and spiritual health?

How do we lead others in a world where everyone has access to everything all the time and are constantly distracted?

Are we losing part of our slow, natural humanity in exchange for the digital quick and now?

I find my all-digital world not only exhausting, but it’s also frightening. Although my digital world brings access to my personal and financial data to my fingertips, it has brought that very same data to others who want to take advantage of online hacks and loose code to steal my identity and spend my money.

The rise of online image and video editing allows my voice and face to be placed on others, and my mouth can move to make words I’ve never said. Imagine the horror of malicious parties who could make world leaders say or tweet anything they want?

Who Wins in an All Digital World?

In the new paradigm, the unknowns are never-ceasing. In fact, the all-digital world has a feel about it, similar to the old American Wild West. To arrive at today’s technological advance, pioneers had to traverse a wild and new land full of risk and reward.

Yet, I find it nerve-racking to be on the front end of daily advances that illustrate the power and inherent dangers of human potential and progress. I wake up each morning wary of the next negative news story, but hopeful for health, wealth, and leadership advancement.

It’s a brave new world, and it reminds me of the wise words of Benjamin Franklin as he traversed the newly independent streets of a free United States. “It’s a republic if you can keep it.”

Yes. It’s an all-digital future world full of potential and hope — if we can keep it.

This article was featured by the editors in the Entrepreneur’s Handbook on Medium.

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