Will the Digital Revolution take you back to the future?

Posted on: December 2, 2015 by Guy Lidbetter

Back to the Future Day came and went on October 21st. Not quite the world that Marty McFly arrived in but was it really so far off? – OK, no hover board but take a look at the latest self-balancing scooters. We tend to think we live in an ever more rapidly changing world but in reality, it’s been that way for some time. In the late 1970’s, the CEO of the then Digital Equipment Corporation famously proclaimed that there was no reason why anyone would want a computer in their home. Rear view mirrors can make fools of anyone and it may not be surprising, given its apparent lack of visionary leadership, that DEC has long since disappeared, swallowed eventually into the HP behemoth. So yes, in some respects, the world we live in today is unrecognisable to that of 1977 – I am certainly a lot older! But many things are very much the same – we still drive cars (although we probably won’t in another few years!) we mow our lawns, we fly in planes, we ride in trains and we still go to the movies - even Star Wars is just about to be released … again!

In fact, the most pervasive revolutions can sometimes just creep up and embed themselves culturally, almost without noticing. Even in 1985, there was no internet, no smart phone, no social networks, no digital cameras … and no personal data leaks. The technology of the day was the telephone, the TV, both decades old already, and new fangled things like CDs, VCRs and “portable” phones as big as your head - “Gees pops, how did you LIVE?????” scream my digitally native kids. Now, “computers” of any size, shape and form are pervasive everywhere, the internet is everywhere, social networking everywhere and personal data leaks …. well, I think you understand.

A year ago, in Ascent Journey 2018, the Atos Scientific Community published its view on the impact of digitalization, subtitled “The 3rd Digital Revolution” to reflect how fundamental we consider it to be. Now we have applied those concepts to our latest Atos Ascent magazine “Views From Our Digital Future”. We try to make sense of this digital world creeping up on us with articles addressing all aspects of the digitalisation of our lives. We hope our readers will find it both appealing and engaging - from advanced weather forecasting to robotic manufacturing, from transforming how the Olympics are delivered to a global audience to understanding some of the social and privacy issues that the digital world will present. We have even include a fictional perspective of how semantics will work – no easy task I can assure you.

Having had the privilege of contributing to the editorship of this new Ascent Magazine, I very much hope our readers find it as enjoyable as we have enjoyed producing. So why not take a ride with Marty and see what that our digital future is promising.

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About Guy Lidbetter
Chief Technology Officer, Infrastructure & Data Management. Atos Fellow and member of the Scientific Community
With over 30 years of experience in the IT services industry, as CTO for Atos Infrastructure & Data Management, Guy is responsible for setting Technical and Innovation Strategy across the IT infrastructure stack in both cloud and non-cloud delivery models. He is also responsible for senior level relationships with technology leaders of strategic partners. Previously, he has held numerous technical and management positions in Sema Group, SchlumbergerSema and Atos Origin. In 2017 Guy was appointed an Atos Fellow and is also a founder member of the Atos Scientific Community, most recently sitting on the Editorial Board for the latest Ascent magazine, “Imagining our Quantum Future’. He has a passion for sport, particularly Chelsea Football Club, baseball’s Atlanta Braves, rugby union and cricket. He also walks, cycles and more leisurely pursuits include photography, reading, music and attempting cryptic crosswords with varying degrees of success.

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