Digital Revolution

The Digital Revolution (also known as the Third Industrial Revolution) is the shift from mechanical and analogue electronic technology to digital electronics, which began in the closing years of the 20th century.

The adoption of computers and other aspects of digital technology has transformed how humans interact with their environment, and these changes continue to the day.

This article will further give details about the Digital Revolution within the context of the Civil Services Examination.

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History of Digital Revolution in Brief

  • The invention of the Analytical Engine (the precursor to the modern-day computer) by Charles Babbage in the late 19th century and as well as that of the telegraph is believed to have accelerated the Digital Revolution.
  • Digital communication began to be viable for economic reasons when the personal computer was invented.
  • The Digital Revolution was all about the conversion of analog technology to that of the digital format. This would make it possible for copies of the original to be made. For example, repeatable hardware was able to amplify the digital signal and pass it on with no loss of information in the signal
  • The turning point of the revolution was the change from analogue to digitally recorded music. During the 1980s, the digital format of optical compact discs gradually replaced analog formats, such as vinyl records and cassette tapes, as the popular medium of choice.
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Social Impact of the Digital Revolution

The Digital Revolution has come with its fair share of negative and positive factors. They are detailed as follows:

Positive aspects:

  • Greater interconnectedness
  • Easier communication
  • Exposure of information that in the past could have more easily been suppressed by totalitarian regimes.

The revolutions during the Arab Spring of 2010-2012 were enabled by social networking and smartphone technology.

Regarding the economic impact of the digital revolution, there has been a wide- range of impacts. For example, without the advent of the internet, globalization would not be a feasible venture in today’s world

The revolution altered the way individuals and companies interact with each other. Small and medium enterprises today have access to large markets of the world

The adoption of digital technologies has resulted in a boost in economic productivity and its allied activities.

With the increase of technical advances, the digital revolution has created a demand for new job skills.

Negative effects

  • Information overload,
  • The rise in Internet predators
  • Forms of social isolation
  • Media saturation
  • Infringement in personal privacy

There have been some cases where excessive use of digital devices as well as computers for personal use has been linked to a company’s productivity, or at least such a perception seems to exist.

Personal computing and other non-work related digital activities in the workplace thus helped lead to stronger forms of privacy invasion, such as keystroke recording and information filtering applications (spyware and content-control software).

India and Digital Revolution

  • The Digital India programme, launched in July 2015, is a flagship programme of the Government of India with a vision of transforming India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.
  • India is one of the biggest and fastest-growing digital markets in the world.
  • Decisive government action and private-sector innovation are driving rapid, large-scale digital adoption.
  • With nearly 1.2 billion mobile subscriptions and 560 million internet subscriptions, India is home to the second-largest mobile subscription base in the world and the second-largest internet.

Conclusion

  • The Digital revolution has given considerable benefits to society at large, but it has also brought its fair share of concerns in the process.
  • Powers of communication and information sharing have been greatly expanded and with it  new technologies that can exploit the information concerned have also cropped up.
  • It has ushered in a new scenario where mass surveillance can become the norm, bringing in its wake new concerns about civil and human rights.

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