Final Blog IS6621: Asking the Right Questions

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:

 

  1. What does this development or change mean for society?

Image result for trust economy

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.

 

  1. What does this development or change mean for companies and the labor market?

Image result for ai grocery store

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.

 

  1. What does this development or change mean for our future?

Image result for future spongebob

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!

7 comments

  1. I think you summed up three major takeaways from the course. It still is crazy to me to think that in 2007, I would never have thought of using ride sharing to get around a city. When the process happens gradually it doesn’t seem like that crazy of an idea, but to put think back a decade ago and it just blows your mind. The third point is what really hits home for me about progress is met with resistance. It is just so hard to determine what new technology is going to be helpful and worth investing in and what technologies are going to fall by the wayside.

  2. whitmcdonald2 · · Reply

    This post reminded me of a timeline that was in our Twitter Feed that basically showed our adaptation of new technologies. NO one could ever predict, bitcoin, Amazon, ride sharing, or letting strangers stay in your home but your major point of switching our trust from institutions to individual is so on point. Also, how companies are staying in the game with adapting technologies in order to stay relevant is so dynamic that we will never be able to know more than just a couple of paces in front of us, but this class taught us how to adapt, mature, and stay informed. Thank you for sharing Brian!

  3. Great wrapup. If you could walk away with anything, this is what I would have wanted you to walk away with.

  4. paulandresonbc · · Reply

    Very nice post Brian, it provides a great summation of each of the takeaways that I leave this course with. I now find myself asking these questions every time that I consider a new piece of technology or app, etc., looking past just what it is and into what its implications will be on society and the digital world. I too loved the design of the class and the way it allowed us to keep up with incredibly current issues and ideas.

  5. camcurrie99 · · Reply

    Great takeaways here, Brian. While some of the technologies we have discussed may become irrelevant in the future, our way of thinking about emerging technologies and trends in social media will continue its relevance for many years to come, I believe. Your point about resistance to new technologies is especially important to consider now as technologies become more self-intuitive and have deeper connections to our lives. Thanks for sharing!

  6. britt_hopkins4 · · Reply

    Brian, great post. I love how you summed everything up with these three questions. I think remembering these three questions sets anyone up to evaluate new technology and its implications. I think they really set the stage for great conversations with others at all levels, whether you have never heard of social media or whether you’re an expert. Thanks for bringing all of this to light!

  7. Great post! I definitely agree with the three points you made. I think that those were some of the biggest topics of this class and I do feel that they will continue to be relevant in the coming years. I find that these are the questions that need to be consistently asked as tech changes in order to ensure that it is going on an upward trajectory and is benefiting society.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: