Human civilization has seen three major revolutions in its history. We had the Agricultural Revolution of the ancient times, the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th to early 19th century and finally, the Digital/Tech revolution in which we currently live.
Each revolution is marked by a drastic change from the regular, resulting from a new innovation. The Agricultural revolution brought about ancient Chinese and ancient Egyptian cities. The Industrial Revolution brought about efficiency in production allowing for an almost worldwide economic boom. Now, the Digital Revolution is bringing impressive changes of its own, throwing the world into a time dubbed the Information Age.
The Digital Revolution, also sometimes referred to as the 3rd Industrial Revolution, and the Industrial Revolution are similar in many aspects. The Industrial Revolution brought about a change in production methods, from handmade production to machine-made production, as well as new iron production processes, improved efficiency of water power, development of machine tools, and increased usage of steam power.
Similarly, the Digital revolution brought with it the mass production of digital logic circuits and its derived technologies like the digital cellphone, fax machine and — who could forget — the computer. In essence, the Industrial Revolution and the more modern production methods that it brought are what fueled the Digital Revolution, allowing for mass production of these digital circuits.
Thanks to the Digital Revolution we are able to attain information faster than we were ever able to do so before. I remember growing up I had to go to the library to do research in order to write a school report. These days all I have to do is whip out my smartphone. Let’s take a quick look at exactly how this Tech Revolution has affected the world:
In 1990, the total amount of cellphone subscribers was only 12.4 million — 0.25% of the world’s population at that time. In 2002, 1.17 billion people had cellphones — 19% of the world’s population. By 2010, the number of cellphone subscribers has gone up to 4 billion — roughly 67% of the world’s population.
As far as Internet usage goes, back in 1990 only 2.8 million people used the Internet — 0.05%. In the year 2002, the numbers went up to 631 million — or 11%. By 2010, the number went up to 1.8 billion — 26.6% of the world’s population. The availability of this technology has been growing exponentially and does not show signs of stopping.
The technology that is being brought on by the Tech Revolution is just as impressive to us now as the advances brought on by the Industrial Revolution were back several decades ago. Most interestingly is the effect that both the Industrial and Digital Revolution had or continue to have on the economy. The Industrial Revolution marked an unprecedented change in history: sustained growth in average income.
Nobel Prize winner Robert E. Lucas Jr. said, “For the first time in history, the living standards of the masses of ordinary people have begun to undergo sustained growth ... Nothing remotely like this economic behavior has happened before."
The Digital Revolution had similar effects. This Revolution brought about the Internet which has made doing business on a global market efficient and easy. It allowed for better interaction between both customers and other companies. There is more and more evidence now showing that there is a significant increase in the productivity, efficiency and performance of companies following the Tech Revolution.
Not to mention, the world has never before seen so many people become billionaires almost from scratch in such a short period of time. The standard of living, globally, has been on a steady increase and despite the recent economic slump, things seem like they will be moving forward in a positive direction.
So what next? If history repeats itself then we are likely to see cities forming around this digital movement. We had ancient agricultural cities form, we had industrial cities, like New York, form and it is very likely that we will see some digital cities rising in the near future.
Also, seeing as how technology is rapidly advancing and innovations are quickly becoming more and more commonplace, we are bound to see the next revolution sooner than we think. If I had to guess, I would have to say that the Space Revolution is the next significant change on the horizon. Our world and our lives are quickly changing and bound to see an exciting future.
Paul Hudson | Elite.
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