Digital Transformation is a central theme in our era. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire human community is reconfiguring its social, economic and psychological aspects. But, humanity is also overcoming its hesitations and reluctance to new technologies. Is it possible to see something positive in this terrible situation? Maybe a disruptive revolution? Even before the pandemic, digital technologies were seen as tools to defend ourselves and better deal with the current situation, sometimes referred to as VUCA. This acronym, adopted by the military world, indicates the four challenges of contemporaneity: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity
These are themes that can refer to those that relate to the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Their expertise and contribution inevitably find great support in technology. As it is in all things today. The urgency associated with the pandemic draws great impulses from technology, and that’s all very well. However, with regard to social and psychological repercussions, this further penetration and trust in technology should be accompanied by a stronger and more appropriate cultural approach. This aims also at avoiding the risk of losing control of it. Risk of excess confusion, frustration, or perhaps Luddite actions.
Certainly, we’ve already seen confusion, for example with regards to Smart Working promotion maneuvers. In Italy, as an example, both digital and human resource management experts will agree that what millions of citizens are doing in their homes, in front of their computers, is not innovative Smart Working at all, but simply ‘telework’, which has been used in Italy since the 1990’s. In short, the culture of digital must be increasingly spread.
According to the 2019 report of the European Digital Development and Society Index (DESI), Italy ranks 24th among the twenty-eight EU states. In this evaluation, the cultural elements and the competences weighed heavily. This Index refers to the skills needed to make the most of the benefits of digital, the use of the internet among the population and the digitalization of businesses.
If you then think of Artificial Intelligence, of Augmented Reality, of Blockchain, Drones, the Internet of Things, Robotics, Virtual Reality and 3D printing, it is clear that the cultural gap must be filled with a precise planning.
When, at the beginning of the twentieth century, the conveyor belt was introduced in factories, there had been an acceleration of production processes and therefore of the whole economic system, but it became necessary to fragment the workers’ duties, standardize production time, sacrifice worker autonomy. This is not to say that there are insidious mechanisms in digital technologies. It is the wish that a deeper and more widespread awareness will be acquired.