Having been in IT for over 30 years I have witnessed many cycles of digital transformation. The biggest was advent of the Internet which created huge new opportunities for interconnection. The companies that now dominate global business such as Facebook, Apple and Google have tapped into our human desire to communicate and access knowledge at the touch of a button.
But we are now seeing the downsides at first hand. The damage done by lightning spread of disinformation, the scams we see every day in our email inboxes and on our mobile phones, and the invidious coded exploits by smart criminals of the complexity we have created.
You may think self-driving cars will be a great benefit to us all. Personally, it scares me because each car will be a highly complex online computer on wheels and as such very vulnerable to the smart, organised bands of cyber criminals. I will drive myself thank you, and make sure nothing in my car is connected to the internet!
I often think back to the local bank manager, a post which no longer seems to exist. Many communities don’t even have bank branch anymore. How much of a headache it now is to open a bank account or take out a loan? Once upon a time the local bank manager knew his customers personally and vouched for their credentials. I am not suggesting we go back to that, it was of course a recipe for cronyism and corruption. But surely there is a happy medium, bringing back face-to-face contact as at least part of the decision-making process?
I am fascinated to see how the Happy Medium evolves. I know that we are at least all aware of the dangers of building our society around digital and look forward to a ‘new normal’.