Monday, September 04, 2017

Will the digital superpowers of the world grow more stronger ?

The top eight digital superpowers of the world are given in this pictorial.

While three of these are from China, five are from United States, the top and second topmost economies in the world. These companies definitely add value to the people of the world without any doubt of discrimination. but the really scary question is - are they really getting all-powerful making them escape the control mechanisms of the world ? 

What aids them in their quest to be the digital superpowers of the world ? It was simple innovative thinking which propelled them initially and gave them the required traction to beat local competition and emerge as global IT products.

Networking is propelling them to greater heights, lets take a look at Metcalfe's law which gives us some understanding about the process.

Metcalfe's law states that the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system (n2).

Even though the law is for telecommunications network, in the present world it is equally relevant in the digital world too.

The strength and popularity of a network is determined by the number of players or nodes in the network. As the number of  nodes increase, the strength and capability of a network increases according to the square of the nodes connected.

With just under 2.5 billion people of 7.25 billion all over the world connected to the Internet, as the unconnected people of the world get online and connected, these superpowers are only going get stronger and flex their muscles again.

An interesting fact is to know how these digital superpowers (or hub firms) compete. These hub firms do not compete based on the services and products they offer, on costs or features, they relocate themselves to the new environment and using their strength of networking, access the services and products on offer in the new environment, what follows is complete domination.

A very scary situation.. A possible outcome is these eight superpowers may get re-consolidated to two or three and control the people of the world .. When the next round of electric driver-less cars, working on artificial intelligence, networked and connected to the cloud emerges in the global scene, whichever be the company, it will emerge really strong and be a contender for the digital superpower post.  

The doubts that linger in the minds of the people are whether these over controlling digital super powers of the world, will control humanity to a large extent resulting in the imbalance between the haves and the have-nots increasing. Will it lead to social unrest and wars in the future ? The other great drawback of this whole exercise is we are in a stage and cannot backtrack. 


Ref : Iansiti, Marco and Karim Lakhani, Managing our Hub economy, HBR, Aug-Sept., 2017. 

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