Since software and Data have become the nervous system of digital transformation, the digital war has intensified.
Between 2018 to date, two big-tech nations have been at war on global data control. Various studies agree that the fifth generation of mobile phone networks (5G) has positioned itself as the core enabler for the transformation of the global digitization processes, economies, and human life. Therefore, this is the time and opportunity to interrogate, concentrate and further explore the emerging impact of digital wars.
This is essential as an inevitable duty to craft proactive global policies before it challenges overwhelm us. The digital-war-of-Things will be majorly witnessed in three critical domains: Economy and Health, Intellectual Property (Education and Culture; including Social Media Content) and above all, Cybersecurity Warfare governed by Big Data and Artificial Intelligence as dynamic fuel for Quantum Computing in Military Digital Warfare.
To avoid the catastrophe, humanity must primarily embrace digital collaboration as the ultimate and sustainable panacea at all manageable levels of digital transformation. Also, by extension, is the inclusiveness of the Space Adventure ecosystem with the maturities of Robotics in all shapes and sizes. The assumption is that since data is at the center of global economic pie, software is king.
Without doubt, Algorithm-centric Software-of-Things (SoT) is at the epicenter of the global digital economy war. Certainly, there will be disruptive consequences. Notably amongst the negative impacts is an expected diminishing returns on Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs); as well as have-not families. Indeed, about 60% of those enterprises (and related employment) may be wiped out as major casualties of the global digital economy wars of software colonialization.
The bone of contention remains how to digitize traditional trade processes into a formidable and equitable e-Commerce platform. But with the emergence of 5G Technologies, IoT and Smart Cities, Regions and Homes, the Software wars would be intensified.
Recently the ‘Digital Trade Network (DTN) at the WTO Geneva-based e-commerce (JSI) negotiations is busy putting heads together to ensure that global trade is digitally transformed. To that effect, the World Information Technology Service Alliance (WITSA), published a policy statement in support of digital trade rules for innovation and sustainable trade rules’ (https://witsa.org/wpcontent/uploads/2021/05/WITSA_Trade_05_May_2021.pdf)
Going forward, on November 23, WITSA joined, through the Digital Trade Network (DTN); a global coalition of industry associations in urging members of the World Trade Organization to keep the Internet free of tariffs. This call is supported by 73 industry associations active across six continents. According to WISTA, there are many reference areas where substantial progress has been made to date in the negotiations; including the following eight articles where agreements on consolidated texts have either been reached or are near agreement.
They include: Online consumer protection; Electronic signatures and authentication; Unsolicited commercial electronic messages; Open government data; Electronic contracts; Digital Transparency; Paperless trading and Open internet access. Meanwhile, the ongoing negotiations intends to achieve meaningful outcomes targeted to deliver important benefits; such as boosting consumer confidence and supporting businesses trading online. Others are: Customs duties on electronic transmissions, cross-border data flows, data localization, source code, electronic transactions frameworks, cybersecurity and electronic invoicing; as well as advanced discussions on market access.
All the above indicators reveal the concerns and underneath challenges that must be resolved to avert the ferocious build-up of the emerging global digital economy war; with software competences and controls governed by the domineering interest of advanced nations. Recalling the ‘Tunis Agenda for the Information Society’, compels us to seek update on how far have we adopted its values?
According to Information Society, it would be recalled that; ‘In 2003 and 2005, representatives from governments; the technical community, civil society, and the private sector came together at the United Nations World Summit on Information Society (WSIS), where they adopted the Tunis Agenda for the Information Society.
The Tunis Agenda adopted a working definition for Internet governance as follows; “… the development and application by governments, the private sector, and civil society in their respective roles of shared principles; norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and programmes that shape the evolution and use of the Internet. The agenda recognized the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder group and emphasizes the importance of collaboration when seeking solutions for the benefit of Internet growth and development. It is also called the multi-stakeholder model.
The multi-stakeholder model further recognized and emphasized that; ‘In areas such as security, privacy, connectivity, and human rights; it is clear that no single viewpoint can solve borderless and multidimensional issues.’’
However, with the advent of emerging technologies, new challenges have presented avenues for individualized rather than collaborative approach to Internet governance; as nations intensity innovations in AI, Robotics and Quantum Computing. Opportunities in the global digital economy is huge. Digital Gaming Software is an area a nation cannot ignore.
App usage statistics in 2021 predict that the mobile gaming segment will have an income of around $103 billion in 2023. That will be $26 billion more than what it was in 2020. Asia will remain the top gaming continent on the globe. (Source: Statista). Digital infrastructure would continue to grow as bandwidth hungry and restless users/youth will abandon snail-speed loading apps that are too slow to load. Demand for Software Apps will continue to grow.
According to Source: Simform report: ‘a whopping 89% of smartphone users’ time is spent on just 18 apps. Also, statistics on app usage for Millennials informs that the number will rise to 67 apps, with only 25 commonly used apps. Also, 55% of businesses owned by Millennials will have a mobile app of their own. Statista further informs that ‘Consumers are expected to download 258.2billion mobile apps in 2022. In 2017, consumers downloaded 178.1 billion mobile apps worldwide to their connected devices. This figure was on track and surpassed 205 billion in 2018.
The wider availability of smart devices, as well as increasing competition in the app development market, is expected to drive this impressive growth. The above data also helps answer how many apps are downloaded in a day (about 700 million).
Bringing the topic to speed, the following will translate to competition at the corporate business level. But it is centrally targeted on national government level – since without government, there is little or no economy. The bigger picture is that the digital war has moved to Space. Indeed, based on a message sent on October 24, 2010, the message is Jobs’ then-current line-up for that year’s “Top 100” meeting; an annual Apple retreat that brings together top executives from the company where they get briefed on the state of the company, new products, and new services.
Noticeably, the first item on the agenda is an overview of Apple’s strategy for 2011 presented by Jobs himself. The items include an update on the company, its business, and the success of new products like the iPad; introduced in April 2010. And finally, let us not forget late Steve Jobs’ concern on, “2011: Holy War with Google.
“Apple is in danger of hanging on to [the] old paradigm too long (innovator’s dilemma),” wrote Jobs. “Google and Microsoft are further along on the technology but haven’t quite figured it out yet.
Without Software, global digitization is a lame dog. Today, the software war has moved up to Open-Source Software with modifiable Source Code. This presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for developing nations. But many developing nations, especially at the Government levels like Nigeria are still predominantly policed, detained and locked-up by Closed Source Code Proprietary Software.
Time to act is now.