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When two tribes go to war …

I was struck the other day by how many words are bandied about so much that they become meaningless. Then realised that many of these words fall into buckets. Then listed the buckets and they fell into two tribes: digital and analogue. The list is non-exhaustive and misses some bits that should be in there, but here are the headlines starting with tribe one.



Let’s start with tribeone: the digital buckets, where I ended up with six buckets of words:

  • Autonomous, intelligent and connected
  • Democratised, distributed and decentralised
  • Platform, ecosystem and open
  • Reliable, resilient and robust
  • Vulnerable, questionable and fragile
  • Environmental, sustainable and renewable


Autonomous, intelligent and connected

The first digital bucket of words autonomous, intelligent and connected relate to the hardware and software of our digital world: the internet of things (IoT). IoT is all about everything on the networked communicating and relating in real-time. It goes way beyond a simple concept of software is eating the world. It is about technology is eating the world. Everything is begin digitized. Cars, planes, trains, clothes, homes, pets … anything that can have a QR code or chip is being connected and automated. This means that the world of the last century depended upon electricity; the world of this century depends upon the network. Just as when you have a power down, it is unacceptable; when you have a loss of network, it is unacceptable. Everything is automated.


Democratised, distributed and decentralised

These phrases I associate mainly with bitcoin and cryptocurrenciecs, but it is far more ubiquitous and pervasive than this. It’s a trend for everything. In fact, the big names of today – Amazon, Alibaba, Facebook, Tencent, Netflix, TikTok, Spotify, Ping An, Google, Baidu – may all be gone in a decade or more. What? Seriously? Well no, not seriously, but the democatrised world is all about moving the internet to the internet of me. I control it. It’s something that I can program. The parameters and security of the network are dictated by me, and I control my data and identity.


Platform, ecosystem and open

This is why platform, ecosystem and open dialgoues are so key, because we are moving away from a world where governments and borders and corporations control everything, to the internet of me, where I control everything and work out the things I like by navigating the open ecosystem on the platform. The platform is the network; the ecosystem are the players on the network; open is all about the fact the players on the network have no boundaries are happy to be used in conjunction with one another in a simple plug-and-play structure. It might even be my autonomous, intelligent and connected things on the network that make them plug-and-play.


Reliable, resilient and robust

Hey, come on, I’ve talked mission-critical, fault-tolerant, non-stop for years, but it’s still the same. In fact it’s more important than ever. As mentioned, a network outage is now as unaceeptable as a power outage. We depend on the network and the power grid that runs the network. The two go hand-in-hand and are now as important as each other. So, of course, they both have to be reliable, resilient and robust. Does that mean the system never goes down? Of course not, there will always be issues; but it does mean that the system comes back up again in a timely manner (less than an hour is as long as would be acceptable).


Vulnerable, questionable and fragile

The complete and utter dedication of work, life, business, commerce, trade and finance to the network makes it imperative to focus upon addressing those areas of the network that are vulnerable, questionable and fragile. The challenge with that statement is that there will always be areas of the network that are vulnerable, questionable and fragile. Cybercriminals are always one step ahead of cyberpolice, because the criminal is always trying to break the system. If there is anything vulnerable, questionable or fragile in the system, the underworld will find it and exploit it. Think Alien. What starts out as a small issue grows and grows into a big one, once the alien finds the vulnerability in the system. This will always be the case, and the job of the cyberpolice – whether they be banks or governments – is to make sure the aliens cannot break into the systems.

Environmental, sustainable and renewable

This is clearly a priority as we lose UNESCO world heritage sites like the Great Barrier Reef to climate change and pollution. Everything has to have a focus upon being environmental, sustainable and renewable. It sounds so obvious, yet we let these environmental, sustainable and renewable issues sit on the back burner for years, and only deal with it when someone slaps us in the face. Take the story of the deterioration of the Great Barrrier Reef. When did Australia’s government first know about it? There are extensive discussions about bleaching of the reef from the last century, and yet it still fell into the danger zone of loss a quarter of a century later. Will the same happen to our planet? We hope not. Renewable energy, green finance and recycling of resources from plastic to fossil fuels with carbon offsets and net-zero emissions … blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. We need action, not words.


More tomorrow …

About Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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