Chapter 4Digital Technologies

A Cambrian explosion of digital technologies underpins the digital disciplines, driven by developments in science and technology, an increasing economic shift from physical to virtual, accelerating global competition, and increased venture capital and government investment.

Advances in these technologies are too numerous to list, and would be immediately out of date as technologies showing early promise fail to pan out or gain user adoption, and new entrants arrive. Some, such as 3D printing, 4K displays, and drones have captured the popular imagination as volume and learning curve effects begin to drive down prices to consumer levels; others—such as quantum cryptography, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and neuromorphic computing, memristors, electroholographic displays, and optical satellites—are emerging.

It can be argued, though, that there are five key categories of information-related technologies: people and things, data and processing, and the networks to tie them all together; hence the list in the subtitle of this book: cloud, big data, social, mobile, and the Internet of Things. All of the digital disciplines—information excellence, solution leadership, collective intimacy, and accelerated innovation—rely on these building blocks. Complex solutions, such as artificial intelligence or machine cognition (computers that think like we do, or better) use a mix of advanced algorithms running on massive data sets.

The core technologies ...

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