The Emerging Connected Future and Digital Utopia and What it Means for Us

A Glimpse into the Connected Future

The future is connected in terms of the networked and integrated digitally enabled modes of living and working.

In other words, with cutting edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data powered Analytics, IoT, or the Internet of Things, and Distributed computing integrating our homes and our workplaces, the emerging paradigm of connectivity is going to usher in dramatic changes that are truly transformative for our working styles and our lives.

For instance, with AI powered home assistants such as Alexa and Siri bringing us the world to our homes, our ways of life would change in a revolutionary manner. In addition, the way we work would be transformed by IoT and Distributed Computing that promise to bring in different modes of working and professional arrangements.

Indeed, full time and lifelong employment would become things of the past as is the concept of an office or a workplace which now would be split between home office, organizational offices, and anywhere and everywhere from which we can work.

Further, our urban lives would be transformed by the emergence of Smart Cities and Smart Urban Governance which would bring in the much needed real time connected governance that can make a lot of difference to our lives in cities.

How Smart Cities and Smart Governance Work

Take for instance, the example of how Smart Cities work. In such a model, living and working are no longer offline and instead we would begin in the day by logging into the IoT (or for that matter never logoff and simply wake up and be connected instantaneously) that would enable Mobile Apps and AI Home Assistants to inform us about our exercise routines, our breakfast timings, the best possible route to the office for commuting, and let us be constantly available for instantaneous communications with our coworkers and families.

Indeed, Smart Cities would be driven by connected modes of governance that would enable commuters to know in advance which routes are congested and which parking spaces are available so that one need not spend time being stuck in traffic or looking for parking.

Further, Smart Cities would also have automated systems of garbage collection and sewage treatment as well as water supplies in addition to Zero Carbon Footprint for residents who can now live in leafy enclaves that are salubrious and healthy.

If this does not sound revolutionary, consider the added benefit of living in a city where all scheduled outages are communicated in advance and indeed, no outage might be reported at all.

Revolution in Medicine and Surgery

In addition, our connected future would also usher in changes to the way we receive treatment for our illnesses and the way in which we would shop and party. For instance, with Genome Sequencing and Digitally enabled medicine and robotically controlled surgery, we would no longer be down with prolonged illnesses.

Instead, we would be treated according to our past medical histories that are tracked digitally and would enable the Doctors to peer into the future and prognosticate by looking backwards and gauging the present.

Indeed, this concept of looking into the future with Analytics and looking backwards into the past with stored databases of data about ourselves is the key term used to define the Connected Future wherein at the click of a button or a tap on the Smartphone or Apps, anyone anywhere and everyone everywhere as well as anytime and every time can simply access all the information about us.

For that matter, it might be the case that with VR or Virtual Reality, we might not even need to click or tap but instead, we can simply use augmented reality headsets to simulate our thoughts and feelings and project them into experiences.

Digital Utopia need not be for the Few

Having said that, while all this sounds exciting, a key concern for many experts is who would be benefited and who would lose out in this emerging paradigm of connected living. Indeed, the fact that the Internet and the Digital Economy now benefit only the rich and that the underprivileged are no better off or for that matter, worse off than before means that there is a cautionary tale for futurists imagining a Digital Utopia.

Already Digital Economy firms such as Uber and Amazon as well as the numerous Gig Economy firms are known to treat their employees (or part timers since most Gig Economy firms do not classify them as employees in the proper sense of the term) worse off than traditional service and manufacturing firms.

Moreover, the connected future must not leave behind those who cannot afford such comforts and make them disconnected or disoriented. Hence, there is a need for policymakers and stakeholders to gauge how much the Digital Economy is benefiting those at the bottom in addition to determining who is better off or worse off.


Lastly, the emerging connected future would also mean that the separation between Humans and Machines would disappear and we would see the emergence of a Digital Human where the digital and human selves merge to create a new type of species.

If all this sounds like Science Fiction to you, we suggest that you check the latest innovations from Silicon Valley and then, you would realize what the future has in store for all of us.

To conclude, to live, and work in the future, we need a new social contract as well as a new model of public and private sector governance and only then we would be able to ensure that the radical utopia that is promised would not be creepy but would be comforting.

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