Technology in 2017 – The Global Picture

This section of the website will focus on some of the amazing ways in which technology is changing our lives. Hopefully it will inspire some lively conversations as we speculate on the good and bad of such change.

Ancient History!

I thought I’d start with setting the scene as we enter 2017.  It can be hard sometimes to keep up with technological advances – and indeed to remember how long the established ones have been around.

Which three multi billion companies were founded in 2004, 2009, 20111 respectively?

Share your answers in the comments – and no checking in the near 19 year old grand daddy of the modern internet!

Growth in 24/7 Internet Access

A decade ago there were no smartphones. We did not have continuous access to the internet via our phones. In 2017 the number of smartphones in use is estimated at 2.5 billion.

Where the growth is happening is likely more significant than the growth itself. Brazil now has more smartphones in use than it has citizens. It trails only the USA in Facebook, You Tube and Twitter use – for now. China has twice as many internet users as the entire population of the USA – and India will have more than that within the next 3 years.

Speed of Change

So called less developed countries are skipping the evolution in devices that has left first world countries with a mix that includes millions of out of date phones, and are starting out with newer technology. Myanmar has moved from a place regarded as one of the remoter counties in the world to a country (point “A”) to one that now boasts over 50% mobile phone ownership (point “B”).  This is leading to a revolution in working practices the like of which we have not seen in the UK, for example, since the Industrial Revolution.  That revolution took approximately 70 years, the fastest mass change in lifestyles in our history. Stop and think about this for a minute – how long do you think it has taken for Myanmar to move from point A to point B ? I’ll let you know at the end of this article!

Increasing Potential

Not only are the numbers of people with access to the internet far, far higher than ever before.

Our planet has the largest number of healthy and educated adults that it has ever had.

Illiteracy that ran at about 50% of the population only 30 years ago, stands at about 16% in 2017.

The number of people alive who possess a degree is greater than the total number of degrees ever awarded from their inception up to 1980.

Advances in machine translation capabilities continue apace, increasing the possibility of smart people from all over the globe having the capability of relatively easy communication between themselves.

A logical conclusion is that the speed of change, innovation and revolution in working practices and beyond will only increase. We are currently in the slow lane – and Myanmar by the way – took 68 years less than the UK to effect their revolution.

The Future is getting closer!

What does all this mean for us? Opportunities? Threats? Two sides of the same coin? What do you think?