Sunday, October 18, 2015

Andrew Keen about the digital revolution

We've all heard it a million times, it's never the question if you use it, the question is how often you do so. We believe the interview with Andrew Keen is in many ways about this problem.

People only talk about how the internet is destroying businesses and jobs, but they often forget how it opens the world for others. Small shops are able to sell their products worldwide, people from all over the world can access knowledge, unknown people can show their talents on youtube and then get an offer for an audition, the housewife can create a cooking blog and start a career if she does really well. Of course these success stories are rare but the internet certainly plays an important role when it comes to education.

A disruptive innovation like airbnb brings new competition in the market of overnight-stays. However we also believe that it is another wonderful example of how synergies from people all over the world can be used. Including mid-income people, Mr Keen claims to be suffering so badly.

On the other hand it is the sad truth that technological developments replace human workforce. Let's just think of the Migros and Coop self check-out system. Why would a mother of three still be having that part-time job at Migros in a few years if her skills can be replaced by machines? Right, there is no reason. The problem however doesn't lie in the technological advantage. These companies give customers a choice to either queue and have a quick social interaction with the cashier or just operate a machine and leave. Sadly many people would choose the second. They are always short in time, stressed and certainly not willing to wait until their highness can pay - and that's the real problem. We could even go as far as calling it a social decease. People mostly just think about themselves and not about others. We hardly see people interacting on trains. Everyone seems to be to obsessed with their smartphones, checking e-mails, facebook news or the most recent instagram stream. We all forget to socialise properly: face-to-face.

The internet, social media and technological developments certainly enrich our world, if we use them responsibly. We believe it will take a while until people start to realise that not the technological advancement is the problem but their very own behaviour. And maybe, just maybe, before mankind realises we will create a robot so intelligent that will destroy the human race.

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