Corporate Leadership, LinkedIn Series

Some Minuses, but More Plusses Emerge from our “Always On” Digital Lives

Reposted from Dan Hesse's LinkedIn series on Executive Leadership and Corporate Responsibility. The following was published March 7, 2016. 


I had the pleasure of sitting down with NPR’s Steve Kraske for 30 minutes to discuss a number of topics I’ve been exploring over the past eighteen months, including how the mobile internet is transforming lifestyles and industries (we discussed advertising and banking as examples). Interview audio available here

The mobile internet improves our economy and the GDP’s of countries around the world, and it’s democratizing education, but this “always on” world also brings with it new concerns in areas such as written and spoken language and threats to our “fast-twitch-wired” teens like cyber-bullying, texting, and cell phone addiction (FOMO).  Early mobile music devices required file compression and unfortunately, lower fidelity, but “missionaries” like Neil Young are bringing high fidelity to mobile music using new technology.

The “internet of things” will usher in the next wireless growth phase, and it will bring many new capabilities and advantages to our lives, especially as we age.  Smart appliances, sensors, mobile medical monitors, robotic personal assistants, artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles, social media, speech-to-text, and text-to-speech will extend independent life and make our senior years more enjoyable. 

But, all of the data about us being collected creates new privacy and security concerns.  Apple’s position vs. the FBI is timely in that we need to have an open and comprehensive national discussion and establish new laws to deal with the utility vs privacy and security trade-offs emerging as a result of technological advances.

Overall, it’s an exciting time, and in spite of the new issues and problems that come with our new digitally-connected lives, I believe we’re better off, especially if we’re vigilant about and openly discuss the changes our new digital lifestyles entail.