Perils of a Hyper-Connected World

What is a hyper-connected world? It is the accelerating inter-connectivity between people globally at all time. This increasing connectivity has in so many ways made our lives so much easier and has also Improved the standard of our lives greatly. This inter-connection has virtually managed to Influence every aspect of our day to day lives. Social media, e-commerce, smartness, healthcare – you name It! Dealt connectivity has permeated It all and In fact our dependence on it is growing exponentially.

We now rely on each other as a result of a greater reliance on outworked information. But it is not devoid of certain systematic risks associated with hyper-connectivity. Many of the global challenges that we face – like climate change, stability of stock market, depletion of resources, world poverty – often appear to entail the impenetrable webs of cause and effect. Hyper-connectivity could exacerbate inequality in the world, both through differing access to digital technology as well as rapid changes in skills required to survive and thrive.

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Hyper-connectivity is also creating a new level of security risks, from accidents and “flash crashes” to subdirectories and Increased surveillance. Digital technology has the potential to lead to a world In which Individuals face data and decision overload, and a marked change In the very nature of human social relationships. Perhaps the biggest risk Is getting hyper-connectively wrong and ending up with Inadequate solutions for the future. These risks can be broadly classified into five global risk categories: Economic, Environmental, Geopolitical, Societal and Technological.

Some of the risks include: Critical Systems Failure: It is a technological threat. The central point for this threat is single-point system vulnerabilities trigger cascading failure of critical information infrastructure and networks. Respondents consider the risk that a single vulnerability could trigger cascading failure of critical infrastructures and networks’ as low likelihood but high impact ‘a combination typical of events that catch humanity off guard. ‘ Terrorism: It Is a geopolitical threat.

The central point for this threat Is individuals or a non-state group successfully Inflict large-scale human or material damage. Species Overexploitation: It Is an environmental threat. The central point for this threat Is threat of Irreversible bloodlessly loss through species extinction or ecosystem collapse. Chronic Labor Market Imbalance: It is an economic threat. The central point for this threat is a sustained high level of underemployment and unemployment that is structural rather than cyclical in nature. Mismanagement of Aging Populations: It is a societal threat.

The central point for this threat is failure to address both the rising costs and social challenges associated with population ageing. But these problems are not necessarily impenetrable. Powerful new tools have given scientists a better understanding of complexity. Instead of looking at a system in isolation, complexity scientists step back and look at how the many parts interact to form a coherent whole. Rather than looking at a particular species of fish, for example, they look at how fish interact with other species In its ecosystem.

Rather Han looking at a financial Instrument, they look at how the Instrument Interacts In the larger scheme of global markets. Rather than think about poverty, they might look at how income relates to conflict, politics and the availability of water. Whatever the patterns and regularities, and build models to understand the dynamics and organization of the system. They step back from the parts and look at the whole. In short, we need to shape hyper-connectivity into a pro for future generations, instead of a con as is predicted by many experts.