Can Digitisation Save the Planet?

It is a big, big question with millions of small positive answers  Part 1 – digitisation & long-term economic success

By John Bates 

In a post-crisis European economy characterised by falling productivity and a shrinking workforce, digitisation represents huge potential for growth. Below, John Bates argues that the implications of this will not only create millions of jobs but will positively impact all industries, revolutionising both products and services. However, for this to succeed the EU must do more to nurture innovation and create a more integrated digital market.

No matter how you slice and dice the issues surrounding viable economic growth and global development‭, ‬the obstacles seem insurmountable‭. ‬From the unsustainable consumption of natural resources and falling industrial productivity to a shrinking workforce that‭, ‬in many western countries‭, ‬must fund spiraling healthcare and pension costs‭, ‬the picture looks bleak‭. ‬But closer examination‭ ‬shows a myriad of innovative solutions being developed and a common thread running through them‭: ‬Digitisation‭.‬

Digitisation‭, ‬through the Internet of Things‭ (‬or the Industrial Internet‭), ‬will offer governments‭, ‬scientific institutes and enterprises the ability to measure‭, ‬and therefore optimally manage‭, ‬almost everything‭. ‬And to do so at a profit‭.

This is not a zero sum game‭. ‬However‭, ‬the number of zeroes involved in the digitisation paradigm shift is staggering‭. ‬Here are some random snippets‭: $‬15‭ ‬trillion‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬the value of financial transactions in the US per day‭; $‬2‭ ‬trillion‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬the annual value-add from the Internet of Things‭; $‬1‭ ‬billion‭ ‬‮–‬‭ ‬the number of lines of embedded software code in each Airbus A380‭ ‬engine‭, ‬generating more data on every Frankfurt to Sydney return flight than the entire Library of Congress in Washington‭.‬

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