The Next Phase of the Digital Revolution

Source: Vanity Fair, Oct 2014

The next phase of the Digital Revolution will bring a fuller fusion of technology with the creative industries, such as media, fashion, music, entertainment, education, literature, and the arts. Much of the early innovation involved pouring old wine—books, newspapers, opinion pieces, journals, songs, television shows, movies—into new, digital bottles. But now completely new forms of expression and media formats are emerging. Role-playing games and interactive plays are merging with collaborative modes of storytelling and augmented realities. People are creating multi-media books that can be crowd-sourced and wikified but also curated. Instead of pursuing mere artificial intelligence, people are finding ways to partner the power of the computer with that of the human mind.

In this new era, the primary role for humans will be the same as it was 20 years ago. Human entrepreneurs and innovators will supply the imagination, the creativity, and the ability, as Steve Jobs would say, to think different.

The people who succeed will be the ones who can link beauty to engineering, humanity to technology, and poetry to processors. In other words, it will come from creators like those on this year’s list, who can flourish where the arts intersect with the sciences and who have a rebellious sense of wonder that opens them to the beauty of both.

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