The world has entered the threshold of Big Data Control – and many nations have formed a magnificent digital colony within. The digital firestorm has emerged and weaponization of Data has taken center stage! Nations that control Data today will ultimately control the future.
Is Nigeria digitally-ready? Can we become a digital colony if we fail to fully digitize and control our Data? Let’s find out.
Unrevealed to many of us, the world may have indeed left the ICT acronym Ecosystem! Yes, the world has migrated to the digital ecosystem! What then is the difference between the ICT and Digital Ecosystems?
The journey has spanned over many decades. Once upon a time, there was the Analogue Tele-communications system. We witnessed the computerization wind with Data Processing (DP); then the Electronic Data Processing (EDP); and Management Information System (MIS). Next, we saw the shift from Information communication to Information Technology (IT); and pushed into the metropolis of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). Majority of the Tech world believe in and still call it IT. But to the Millennials, we are in the blazing digital Ecosystem. A different world accelerating at the speed of thought with very different future, concept, culture and disruptive innovation models.
Today, the Internet has blossomed and catapulted us into the landscape of Internet of Things (IoT). This phenomenon has exponentially increased the amount of data we generate every day. It is estimated that there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of Data created each day at the current pace of human digital adventure (Bernard Marr).
It may also interest you to note that over the last two years alone, 90 percent of the data in the world were generated! Such data includes your SMS, e-Mails, Photos and other graphic images, searches, messaging and many more. This has transformed Cybersecurity into a huge digital economy.
The urge and stampede to belong to and register our digital presence on the Information Society (IS) Superhighway continues to blur our collective imagination. We have a collective duty to positively ensure that no single nation is in absolutely control of the enigmatic information network as we rapidly advance into the euphoria of machine society.
According to Statista, the digital population worldwide as of January 2019 reveals an interesting trend. About 4.4 billion people were active internet users; and 3.5 billion were social media users. China, India and the United States rank ahead all other countries in terms of Internet usage. To better illuminate and understand the digital-state-of-things, the following statistics would help.
Worldwide, there are 5 billion data searches a day. While 77% of searches are conducted on Google, it would be remiss not to remember other search engines are also contributing to our daily data generation.
In 2010 at the Institute of International Affairs, I launched my book titled: “e-Knowledge – Time is Running Out”. The book represented a harmonization of some of my writings on the subject of Information Technology. This is as it relates to and affects my fatherland, Nigeria. It was published as a wake-up call on the unconscious; and the laid-back attitude (of our leadership and policy makers) to critical issues on the role of Information Technology to national development and nation building.
In particular, the book focused and shared my mission-critical concern on the state of IT Nigeria; and the shape of things to come. This is within the context and possibility of 21st Century Digital colonization of nations – through the interfacing global impact of Information Technology.
In this write-up, I intend to revisit some of the significant lessons learned from the cumulative IT processes. As well, the subsequent global trends of the digital Ecosystem. My goal is to try and demonstrate that indeed, ‘Time may therefore be running out’ on future generations of Nigerians. Many of us unknowingly, have been sentenced to live in a ‘Digital Colony’ by analogue leadership. This is unless we take the bull by the horn now and prepare a strong IT foundation for their survival and global competitiveness.
Today, the speed and passion at which data, information and images are being conceptualized, generated, contextualized, processed, transmitted, retrieved and manipulated through the application and use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure has greatly transformed and continues to influence all known aspects of human life. These complex digital transformation processes will – without doubt, ultimately lead us to the global knowledge Olympiad Arena. The flip side is that this knowledge power arena is filled with a bagful of surprises; as well as opportunities and risky impacts beyond our collective imagination. We must engage it consciously to ensure national survival.
Knowledge production is grounded on the notion and philosophy of ensuring the originality, consistency, preservation and application and use of “Inter-Generational Knowledge” (IGK) base, as a model for sustainable nation building and global competitiveness. It is borne out of the belief that global ‘knowledge’ in itself, represents a buildup and clustering of ‘patches’ and ‘layers’ of life’s common sense (that are perhaps not so common) over many centuries. This pattern of knowledge formation is finally adopted, reviewed and enthroned as global standards and functional and adaptable practices, from time to time.
Time is Running Out!.”
A colorful analogy of “Inter-Generational Knowledge” (IGK) can be simplified as follows. The Earth (soil patches and layers) is a typical example of how global knowledge is formed and attained. Each patch, each layer has its own distinct characteristics and stores the components of its life cycle. You must have observed at a particular stage of your life, that when you dig the soil or watch people digging the soil, the output reveals that there are many colours (patches/layers). The same occurs in real life on the formation of knowledge clusters. The more reasons why Archeologists give it all to discover, study and preserve assumed lost civilizations of knowledge.
ICT is, therefore, not just only about Information Technology (IT). Indeed, it is about multifaceted shades of human life activities in the knowledge realm. People, passion, attitude and several streams of interfacing information and personal experiences on the emergence of Information Technology, social networking, Cyberspace and exploration of unknown entities for global development and continuity of humanity.
All the above translate into several ‘change maker’ domain activities in the emergence of the New Economy, particularly the e-Commerce Roadmap. The new digital Platform is one populated by innovators, Innovation and Creative Development champions. Against the backdrop that in the last quarter of a century, the Information, data and images generated and transmitted from point-to-point and to multi-points around the world, surpassed in many thousand folds, that which was generated and transmitted in the preceding 100 years!
This phenomenal trend alone has indeed compressed and changed our (human) attitude and perception of our development (production) processes time-line. This is in spite of Einstein’s Law on Relativity.
In my estimate, annual information, data generation and movements around the world may have increased by as much as 7,000 per cent (estimate mine – with coordinated reference from IDC’s Data.)
In furtherance of that assumption, it has now become very clear that the annual global movement of information and data (time and volume wise) has been further compressed by IT from 365/366 days to about 47 days per annum. This estimate means that, a fraction of humanity’s information, data and images hitherto generated and moved from point to point or multipoint in 365/366 days can now be generated, processed and moved in 47 days. This translates to “Internet year” equals 47 days!
The hidden meaning, therefore, translates to the fact that unless we mine our inter-generational knowledge to fast-track our digital knowledge-of-things, we may sooner than later become a digital colony to other e-Ready countries.
Very soon, based on the preceding analysis, some shortsighted nations will wake-up at midnight – one day, in the critical decade of this century and suddenly realize that they have been digitally colonized! The resultant effect of this probability will seriously impact on future generations to come. In my candid opinion, this digital colony issue will one day become the critical heart of the matter in the emerging Information Society (IS).
It simply means that the entire life, culture and sovereignty of a nation and citizenry have been unknowingly traded off. It has been taken over by IT-Smart, powerful and knowledge-centered information force and/or forces around the globe. This will complete the process of the fearful “knowledge lock-in” syndrome.
It is time to admit that this ‘Digital Century’ will take hostages- that is certain! This prediction is in recognition of the fact that the 21st Century knowledge development and Data movements through the Information and Communications Technology medium is a speedy phenomenon, whose consequences may be far greater than the tidal wave/Tsunami of our time.
It will indeed make the originators of Star Wars look like Dinosaurs!
TO BE CONTINUED