Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by F. Xavier Olleros and Majlinda Zhegu
Industrialized economies and societies have changed considerably in the last hundred years and they will likely change even more in the next hundred (Palacios-Huerta, 2013), but not because our planet or its inhabitants have radically morphed. What is rapidly changing – indeed improving, despite countless blunders – is our understanding and mastery of nature, including human nature (Ridley, 2011; Pinker, 2014). This is giving us a much better set of technological, institutional and cultural ‘toolboxes’ with which to enhance our common prospect and potential (Ogle, 2007; Arthur, 2009; Kelly, 2010; Henrich, 2015). Today, all around us there are signs that we are entering an era of unprecedented technological and societal change. Online auctions, crowdsourced encyclopedias, open source software and peer-to-peer sharing of music files were early heralds of a new way of organizing human interactions. More recently, scores of fertile new ideas have moved swiftly from futuristic dream to solid reality: think, for example, of Google Earth, free video calls, autonomous vehicles, smart contracts, multi-million-dollar crowdfunding campaigns, wireless 3D scanning of objects, 3D printing of customized human body parts, immersive virtual worlds and augmented reality. At the center of each of these new affordances and alluring possibilities sits a small but vibrant set of digital technologies: microprocessors, sensors, Internet networking, data storage and algorithms. Together, they allow us to datafy and digitize the world.