New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, author of The World is Flat, looks at all the events erupting around the globe — from the Arab Spring uprisings to European Union turmoil to economic displacements — and says this new global shakeup has a common fabric underneath: information technology:
“Globalization and the information technology revolution have gone to a whole new level. Thanks to cloud computing, robotics, 3G wireless connectivity, Skype, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, the iPad, and cheap Internet-enabled smartphones, the world has gone from connected to hyper-connected. This is the single most important trend in the world today.”
At this blogsite, we have explored many of the ways the world is being reshaped with the help of technology: from national constitutions being debated and written over Facebook; to public agencies such as NASA or national libraries turning to crowdsourcing for new innovation; to improving global healthcare; enabling smarter approaches to run greener and more efficient organizations.
The same IT that is empowering and emboldening movements against autocratic regimes or unresponsive governments is also shifting opportunities away from manual, physical, or easily repeatable work, rewarding those that “study harder, work smarter and adapt quicker than ever before,” Friedman adds. On one level, the mix of IT and globalization is creating immense new wealth.
On another level, it is widening the gap between people stuck in the older economy and those charging into the new. Witness all the outsourcing that has taken place in recent years. As Friedman puts it: “It used to be that only cheap foreign manual labor was easily available; now cheap foreign genius is easily available.”
Even CEOs and other top executives should take note on how information technology is turning the pyramid upside down, Friedman says.