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Photo courtesy of Cloudhead Games

In a recent blog post we introduced “The Law of Hyperconnection,” which states that overall network performance will double every 2 years—a riff off Moore’s Law, which no longer works or matters that much in a networked-focused vs. device-focused world.

We opined that it’s the relationship of data, stuff, people and processes that powers the value equation of the Law of Hyperconnection.  Presumably the value accrues to all sides of the network – companies who make stuff, people who consume it and everyone in between.

But what happens to our individual and collective humanity when the data in the known universe doubles every 24 months and increasingly EVERYTHING is digitized?  Pay attention to what Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon are up to with the trifecta of AI, AR and VR and we find ourselves as a society moving into the heart of the 4th industrial revolution—where the cyber and physical worlds converge.

Why does this matter?  Hang on to your kids and your other parts if you haven’t yet imagined how the human experience will change once AI, VR, and AR hit their strides.  Take AR (augmented reality), where we will have a cybernetic overlay on top of the physical world. Or VR, where we can escape into experiences that are so real that the blur between what is real and what is artificial disappears.  Or with AI, where machine learning allows connected devices to make thousands of decisions for us without any human control (think driverless cars).

Put all of this together and what you see is a continued acceleration in scope and scale of brand new, mediated and moderated human experiences.  These will change our brains, change our relationships, and change our society in ways that make the last 10 years (the post-iPhone SMAC era) look like a tiny shift—thinking back on tapping at your smart phone will bring back quaint and nostalgic memories.

Impacts and Conclusions?  As the scope and scale of digital inputs and alternative ways of experiencing what it means to be human increase, the pressure to maintain a sense of balance and internal harmony will increase; as if the pressure wasn’t high now!  The impacts on us personally, socially, and communally will cause the old harnesses that keep us buckled into a sense of self and safety to snap free, creating even more uncertainty and unrest.  Fortunately, there is hope!  For me, that hope lies in a return to principles, to what is true and unique within each of us and a prioritization of the time and space for mindfulness and philosophy.

As humans, we are forever tempted to define reality based on what we do and how the world reacts to us. That temptation will become even greater as the cyber and physical worlds converge.  Therefore as a species, we need to focus even harder on our internal worlds to maintain balance in all spheres of our lives.

As organizations and business leaders, we need to remember that our employees, contractors, partners, suppliers, and customers are all composed of people subjected to all of these forces; this in turn creates human/societal opportunities and imperatives that are just as important to focus on as the more obvious “value equation” elements that we all like to talk about.