We constantly hear about disruptive technology, but how radical is the change due to digital technology?
In the hills and mountains of the South Wales coal valleys, rivers radiate out and then south toward the sea. This seems reasonable until you learn that the geology beneath is a syncline, a basin-shaped structure of rock strata. The current rivers form a superimposed drainage pattern, the routes the rivers ran before the geology changed. As the ground rose and sank below, the rivers maintained their old courses, a relic of a one hundred million year past.
In reality digital technology is often like this, largely reinforcing the existing structures of power and organisation in government, commerce and health. The digital geology is changing beneath our feet and yet digital technology cuts the same paths.
Can we reimagine industry and civic society as if digital technology had come first, before the industrial revolution, and maybe even before the rise of the mercantile class?