Unifying the World through Technology
Socio-economic and political rifts like the USA threatening to renegotiate NAFTA or UK leaving the European Union, often divide societies by fostering indecision, inaction and intolerance. This is further substantiated across geographies, where disparity in terms of employment, income, rights, opportunities and access to health care is prominent. People have moved from a community focused way of life to an identity focused one, as a result of which social sustainability - society’s internal cohesion and ability to hold together over time - is in jeopardy, resulting in the formation of a fractured world.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) is committed to improving the state of the world by addressing major problems affecting nations. In the recent WEF 2018 event at Davos, the theme was “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”, which focused on how technology and a shared economy help act as unifiers in a fractured society. WEF claims that the major factors that drive the formation of such fractured societies are globalization and the scattered use of technology, which have resulted in extreme competition and irregular returns to the labor force, exacerbating inequality.
There are numerous challenges that organizations face as a result of this fractured society, a few of which are
- Digital information inequality, wherein large companies leverage the data they possess about their consumers, to create entry barriers for new businesses, thereby limiting the end consumer’s choices
- Workforce scarcity, aggravated by a skewed spread of skilled individuals and rise in automation
- Hindrance to innovation, whereby access to platforms and resources for innovation is limited due to in-equal social and economic opportunities
- Barriers to cross-border flows, through increased trade-restrictive measures across the world, thereby limiting access to resources, products and services. For example, according to WTO news, in the world of trade, the number of trade-restrictive measures in the G20 nations almost quadrupled from 324 in 2010 to 1,263 in 2016.
- Restrictions in use of data, due to increased regulations on data flow and distribution, leading to ineffective use of analytics, cloud and IoT services.
Overcoming challenges using technology
Appropriate utilization of technology, adoption of platforms, and changes in policies can overcome these challenges, helping to reduce the ill effects of a fractured society. Blockchain based identity solutions for example, enable users to control usage of their data, provide access on need to know basis and regain trust in a fractured society, overcoming digital inequality. Knowledge platforms facilitate maintenance of academic records and content, and enabled with conversational user interfaces (CUI) provide people with a natural, seamless way to access resources for continuous learning and relevance in the market, limiting the disparity of skilled laborers. Technologies such as cloud hosting, containerization and AR/VR also help through improved communication with stakeholders and ubiquitous access and deployment of software. Access to collaborative platforms, which effectively improves the processes of sharing, supporting and funding ideas, aid companies in innovation. The limitations on the use of data and cross border flows can also be curtailed through developments and adoption of technologies such as adaptive cybersecurity, that increase security, privacy and control over data. This will contribute to changes in business models so as to account for the increase in data security, and in regulations that govern the use and sharing of data.
Infosys is committed to investing, incubating and adopting technologies and solutions such as Blockchain, chatbots, data masking & assurance, cybersecurity, cloud based applications, AR/VR and adaptive systems, to name a few. This, apart from enhancing innovation and solution effectiveness for clients, also helps in reskilling and improving the talent pool, thereby reducing the fractured world divide.
In today’s fractured world, a shift towards platform based solutions has helped revolutionize and disrupt various sectors, of which a few are
- Politics, where world leaders such as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau et al. use twitter to engage with and strike a chord with their supporters
- Asset sharing, where social media platforms such as Facebook, WeChat etc., aggregator platforms like Uber, Airbnb etc., and media sharing platforms such as YouTube, Snapchat etc. are revolutionizing the industry
- Crowdsourcing, with platforms such as Kickstarter, MTurk, Reddit etc., that help share ideas and promote collaboration
- Retail, where online retail behemoths such as Amazon and Alibaba, have transformed the sector with elaborate retail platforms that connect millions of customers and suppliers
- Government, which has to adjust and be as agile with their laws, policies and regulations as their social and economic entities
- IT organizations, who, in this VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) environment – a catchall for “Hey, it’s crazy out there!” – need to transform their operating models and processes based on the platform economy.
Organizations across the world are expediting their adoption of platform based solutions and new technologies to streamline their operations, overcome challenges and cater to millennials while they unify, equalize and empower the existing fractured society for a brighter and shared future.