Let me start off this final blog post by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this class and learning from everyone about different aspects of digital business. There were a ton of really eye-opening things I learned this year from blogs, presentations, and class discussions that I would not have had the chance to learn about anywhere else. There was a lot that we learned this semester, but I think my biggest takeaway from our class has been how fast technology really moves. There were things that we spent hours talking about that no one ever could have predicted would need to be discussed at the start of the semester. Who could have predicted that we would need an hour to discuss Net Neutrality and $10,000 Bitcoins back in September? Huge shout out to Professor Kane for structuring the class in a fashion that allows us to have up to the minute conversations on emerging trends in digital business today.
The downside to the idea that technology moves quickly is that many of the subjects that we discussed may not be relevant in a year, or 5 years, or 10 years. Does this mean that everything we learned in this class will be irrelevant by the time we are 25? I don’t think so. This class has taught us about technology, for sure, but more importantly, it taught us how to think about technology. This class has allowed us to think about technology the right way, and ask the right questions. The questions we ask a lot of time do not focus on the progress, but rather the implications. I think the questions that we ask about everything we learned about can be centered around 3 main themes:
- What does this development or change mean for society?
This theme resurfaced almost every class. When we discussed the trust economy, we thought about how our society has changed from never getting in to strangers’ cars, to getting in them all the time. We talked about the importance of ratings systems and even the possibility of creating a trust profile that stretches across platforms. Right at the start of the year, we talked about the wisdom of the crowds, and what this new ability would allow us to do in terms of connecting the right people to solve the world’s problems. We also saw the downside of this in (shameless plug) my blog post about Reddit and the online community blaming the wrong guy for the Boston Marathon bombing. We also talked extensively about how we are interacting with each other in a new way with Facebook and other social media and online communities, and what this changes means for us as a society and as individuals.
- What does this development or change mean for companies and the labor market?
We also talked a lot about what emerging trends in technology mean for the business world. The class is, after all, called “Digital Business.” We discussed the implications of Big Data and how, and if, companies are using the information they have on us, and for what purposes. We discussed the automation of several jobs and industries, and how sometimes technology can have unintended consequences, like accidentally discriminating against potential hires with depression. We saw how important and necessary digital progress is in today’s business world through discussions and guest speakers, such as Lindsay Sutton from John Hancock. Lastly, we saw how new business models and ways of doing things have been opened up by the sharing economy or new advances in technology.
- What does this development or change mean for our future?
This theme was also a very large aspect of the course. Whether we were discussing how we will grocery shop in the future with developments in products such as Artificial Intelligence, or how we will pay for said groceries with discussions on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, we were always talking about how we are progressing in to the future. We also discussed a lot about what the world is going to look like in terms of future generations, particularly with how we communicate. We talked about texting and Snapstreaks and the potential inability to hold conversations with one another. We talked about how progress is always meant with resistance, like Socrates and the written word, but in the end throughout history technological advances have almost always beneficial.
These were the three overarching themes that I could think of that were pretty consistently brought back up from one class to another. I’m sure there are many others if you guys could think of them. With technology and digital business moving at the speed that it is in this day and age, it will be important to keep these questions and the types of conversations we had in class in mind when we continue on to whatever we end up doing in the world beyond #IS6621. Having this type of insight and perspective into both the importance and the implications of digital progress will be a unique and intriguing skill to have for all of us going forward. Thanks for a great class and good luck in the future!