March 4, 2021

Is digital still synonymous with the future? | Trends

There was talk of a futuristic cyberculture, as illustrated by Pierre Levy in 1997. In 1984, William Gibson published the novel Neuromancer, where he coined the term for the first time Cyberspace (although the description that it gave of this one does not superficially resemble what it has ended up being). There was talk of cybernetics back in the 1950s as the field that studied communication and, above all, control in humans, machines, animals and also among them.

At the time Y2K, that moment of passage between the second and third millennium, the dotcom crisis broke out. That which, although not so well known in the Spanish-speaking world, meant the closure of many companies and businesses that were not yet named startups, and a significant financial crisis in the US with an impact on other countries.

From then on, new business models emerged. The adoption of ICT and the Internet exceeded a certain level that exceeded the margin of a mere ephemeral tendency (thus until not long ago the belief of some who observed the Internet). In 2004 the first Web 2.0 Summit was held in San Francisco, picking up a new term that a web developer at the time, Darcy DiNucci, coined five years earlier.

In part you could see a new way of thinking about ICT. All of us here know what web 2.0 refers to more or less: webs and shortly after platforms that made it possible to create and share the contents of the users themselves without needing to know how to code (although the forums already existed in 1.0). ).

The platforms for the easy creation of blogs appeared, and the labels and rings of websites, the wikis, and a whole cyberspace universe that exploited the best of the www. The first social networks also emerged, such as Photolog, Myspace, or Facebook.

It is at this time, as the decade of the 2000s progressed, that digital successfully replaces, semantically, what cyber (although yes, the word already existed centuries before, and the expression had already been used in the 90s digital revolution). And the cyber stays for the bad: cyberbullying, cybersecurity, cyborg, cyberpunk

Sometimes the digital is distinguished from the cybernetic under different very technical arguments, but trying to isolate the dimension and immersion of both concepts, cyber and digital, cultural and social, only serves to clothe necessarily speeches techno-determinists increasingly inoperative to explain an exponentially complex world.

The digital was future

Google Images, when searching the term digital, lets see how fast the digital has been associated with the futuristic, and, by default, with the future. Executives and executives pressing what could be holographic screens with interfaces to what Minority Report. Blue and white nuclear combined with texture of infinite codes in all possible perspectives to the Matrix, or laser-reflective prints of networks and electronic board schemes …

However, if we start to examine what the digital it means today, we would foreseeably find flour of another sack. It requires navigating between an apparent tension between the futuristic and the old, the hermetic high technology and the nostalgia of the low bits, passing through the pure anodyne of everyday life.

We continue to theorize that we are either in an unfinished digital revolution (new technologies parade as deterministic forces of change), or we decided to divide it between two industrial revolutions.

It is said that the digital revolution is not dead, but that it is out of revelry. This perspective allows us to visualize even digitized futures, where the technologies and policies are cybernetic, but it has a contradictory note, a slight nuance, with respect to the idea that changes are very fleeting or, as one prefers to apply to everything, exponential.

If we assume the date of the first commercial computer technologies or ICT towards the 1960s and 1970s (the Third Industrial Revolution of the World Economic Forum) as the beginning of a cybernetic and digital revolution upwards, and it is added as a premise that the digital revolution still It has not ended in itself, that is, we continue in 2019, we would say that it has been around for 50 years. According to diverse historiographic schools, to make us an idea, the 1st Industrial Revolution lasted between 50 and 80 years, and the Second, more or less the same.

Now, those who claim that we are not in that same technological revolution can distinguish that what happened in the 60s and 70s was a totally different move to the current revolution that just, it is indicated, has just begun (the Fourth Industrial Revolution) . And so the idea that changes are accelerated is square, that it is not a matter of human perspective. And that you have time for technological possibilities digitaloids.

Is digital still future?

There is a different look. Is about post-digital. And to be able to introduce ourselves in this view, we must accept premises that are different from those held by digitalist views. That we are either in an unfinished digital revolution, or we are now starting a digital revolution that is really digital, one would say.

The main premise of the postdigital implies understanding that digital is not an exclusively technological issue. Technology, its sphere, is not completely isolated from the human world. Not of the culture. Nor of politics. It can and must also be read from an anthropological angle. Not only economic

And just as we do observe that we are hyperconnected, and several other things we say non-human they are technically connected to each other, the borders between culture, technology and digital policies are diluted. Moreover, we can already accept that the division between a digital economy isolated from the rest of the economy is inadmissible if we even accept the look of what we call digital transformation. Worth so much redundancy

What does postdigital mean? The prefix post does not mean here so much what happens after a time (and therefore that time is over), but a finished revolution. As it is applied with the postpunk movement.

Although it is not a new word either, and it has been seen in a timid way in the field of business, it is currently recognized in artistic and academic fields. In a 2014 article, the cultural researcher Florian Cramer, although he himself confesses that the word is not that it is beautiful, he described the moment as what happens after the digitalization, a moment in which digital does not mean revolution, but everydayness, familiarity, and more critical relations with devices and platforms are seen.

Posdigital it is also the moment in which we erase an unnecessary division between what happens inside the screen, as a false or virtual reality, and what happens outside of them. Today, more and more, the real life runs between screens, media and analog environments, all together.

The separation between what on and the off It is becoming less clear. Due to technologies such as IoT and digital manufacturing, of course, but also because of an assembly process that culminated with our day to day. It's what some call the fluid experience phygital. It does not make sense to talk about multi-screen experiences. The experience is one and it flows between screens and social, physical spaces.

The postdigital is likewise the debate on ethics and regulation. We no longer tolerate (so much) the classic discourse that technological innovations only bring good things. We are somewhat more attentive to issues such as privacy, surveillance, or who and under what premises the algorithm designs.

Less than half a year ago Accenture was encouraged to borrow this word, "postdigital" in an open report. Aligning, announced that the digital (in this case, the use of ICT technologies) would no longer characterize the differential value of any business. That innovation could also be displaced to not so technological spaces. With other methods. Except for future technologies such as quantum computing, they say (ignoring other convergent non-electronic technologies, such as biotech).

The simple fact that there are different views on the technological, social, economic and cultural moment we live in emphasizes that a single universal answer about what tomorrow could be is not possible. And, in a certain way, a single future is not possible either. The only clear thing is that digital simply does not sound so futuristic.

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