- Heavy reliance on networks will usher in an age of digital citizenry. Nowadays, the ways in which people communicate, acquire information, study, have fun, shop, make friends, and pair-bond are quite different from what we saw just two decades ago. People not only have more means to stay connected and obtain information, but have exceeded the constraints of their physical location or time zone. With the developments in this short time span, rather than waiting days or even months for letters to arrive, people now contact others in real time via email, instant messaging, and social networking. Likewise, people can read the news online anytime, anywhere, rather than clinging to their TVs or radios. Wikipedia and other interactive platforms allow people to easily find answers to their questions, without having to wade through voluminous encyclopedias or wait for office hour-working librarians. Internet users exceeded 2.4 billion in 2012, over 34% of the world's population, with this figure growing roughly 8% each year. There are also as many as 1.1 billion smartphone subscribers right now, an increase of 42% over 2011. However, this is just the beginning. As digital lifestyles are adopted, digital citizenry will shape the behaviors of next-gen consumers, changing the way people live, and shaking up numerous industries. For example, traditional video sales and rental stores are disappearing, and the 244-year old Encyclopedia Britannica is no longer printed. It is very likely that in the next few decades, children will ask why the word newspaper contains the word paper in much the same way as our children today ask why the media is still referred to as the press.
- The age of digital business is drawing near, as seen by our commercial dependence on networks for production and operations. Network developments have significant influence on business activities. Which business today can even continue to operate if its network fails? E-commerce is booming and extending its reach into every consumer buying decision, whether involving digital content (e-books and digital music), cars, or home appliances, or even small items like snacks and slippers. In 2012 alone, electronic retail sales worldwide totaled US$1.1 trillion. Information technologies will be further applied to enterprise production and operations. Rather than being tools or support components, ICT will become integral to production, decision-making, customer relationship management, service provisioning, marketing, and logistics. ICT will be employed in the building of end-to-end systems that work in real time, playing a role in each and every link, from idea generation to product conceptualization to precision marketing to efficient operations to on-time delivery. In other words, digitization will become a key characteristic of the future enterprise.
- A borderless Internet gives rise to a digital society. Thanks to the boundary-free nature of the Internet, a large number of borderless virtual communities and societies have come into being. A plethora of these communities will combine to form a digital society that transcends borders, cultures, and races. Facebook is home to over one billion users (or netizens), making it the third largest "citizenry" in the world. This type of digital society, which mirrors while extending beyond the physical world, will undoubtedly impact many aspects of social administration and transformation, including politics, economy, law, culture, news & media, security, and ethics, among others.
Beyond ICT: Embracing The Next Digital Revolution
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