It is not necessary to resort to science fiction to imagine that we and the reality that surrounds us is actually a program.
A few weeks ago, I went to a conference on “digital transformation”, that great revolution that will improve the world. One of the invited speakers was the eBusiness Director of a hotel chain. She explained that some years ago the clients used the five-stars classification to know the quality of a hotel. Now they only take into account the opinion of other customers through TripAdvisor.
Being well or poorly valued on Tripadvisor is, therefore, the difference between success or failure and, as a result, all their efforts are focused on analyzing the data about customers that this website service contains to know what they must do.
Things have been transformed, translated, into digits, and it is through them how we apprehend and interpret reality. Hotels are digits, users are digits, sensations are digits. My thoughts are digits.
If we analyze this carefully, the rise of smartphones, social networks and selfies was inevitable. Since only exists those things that can be digitally translated, we must digitize ourselves to exist. If my Smartphone cannot geolocate me, I’m nowhere. If I cannot share a photo of my face, I am invisible. Refrigerators should be digitized. Otherwise, how are we going to know what’s inside them? Trees and plants should also be part of this transformation in order to interact with us.
Is there anything that cannot be digitized?
Meanwhile, in the conference, the eBusiness director of the hotel chain continued talking. She explained that in their meetings they analyze all data collected by TripAdvisor. But they have included a second source of information: front office staff. They have direct information about customers that TripAdvisor is unable to detect and translate.
Digital transformation could be explained as the liquefaction of reality. We put things, people and events inside the machine and we get a juice of digits. Only in this way can we consume reality. The point is that there are always some “residues” that the machine is not able to transform.
Although we could take advantage of that waste, we threw it out. It is useless, not because we cannot digest it and take profit, but because the blender is not able to transform it.
The machine becomes, therefore, a mediator between reality and us. Certainly, its function is very important, since it allows us to access to valuable data that we are unable to obtain, but the machine also has limitations.
If the reality obtained through people is as valuable as the digital reality, why do we discard the first as if it were a useless residue and only value the second? Undoubtedly, we cannot deny that digital reality is more “chic”, more modern, and more fun. However, I think that the key is that the reality obtained by people is more difficult to control, to dominate (and it demands a salary).