Four reasons we underestimate the power of digital

First as futurist Roy Amara noted, “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short run and underestimate the effect in the long run.” Technological change unfolds exponentially, like compound interest, and we humans seem wired to think about exponential phenomena in flawed ways

Second: we have shifted gears from what economic historian Carlota Perez calls the installation phase of the software revolution, focused on basic infrastructure such as operating systems and networking protocols,* to a deployment phase* focused on consumer applications such as social networks, ridesharing and ebooks

Third: a great deal of the impact of software today appears in a disguised form. The genomics and nanotechnology sectors appear to be rooted in biology and materials science. The “maker” movement around 3d printing and drones appears to be about manufacturing and hardware. Dig a little deeper though, and you invariably find that the action is being driven by possibilities opened up by software more than fundamental new discoveries in those physical fields.`

The fourth reason we underestimate software, however, is a unique one: it is a revolution that is being led, in large measure, by brash young kids rather than sober adults.

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