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Digital Love Affair Is Over

David Sax, Our Love Affair With Digital Is Over, The New York Times, November 18, 2017

Restoring Balance

Like most relationships we plunge into with hearts aflutter, our love affair with digital technology promised us the world: more friends, money and democracy! Free music, news and same-day shipping of paper towels! A laugh a minute, and a constant party at our fingertips.

Many of us bought into the fantasy that digital made everything better. We surrendered to this idea, and mistook our dependence for romance, until it was too late.

 

Through the WI Lens

The author of “Revenge of the Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter” makes a fundamental point with far-reaching implications for the hospitality and retail industries: until recently, most of us bought into the fantasy that digital would make everything better, but the love affair we once enjoyed with digital technology is now over. Indeed! The publishing season and the media are flush with books and articles raising alarms about the pernicious effects of tech on our lives: what smartphones are doing to our children and our mental health; how Facebook and Twitter are eroding our democratic institutions; the economic effects of tech monopolies, etc.

The consequence is this: the analog world will not only survive, but, in many cases, will also thrive. Digital books and digital learning, for example, are in decline with their analog versions (printed books and face-to-face education) making a strong comeback. The same is happening with the bricks and mortar presence of local shops and stores: not only are they not being wiped out by e-commerce, they are in fact expanding. ‘Real’ shops are beginning to be viewed as a counterweight to the easy manipulation of digital and as encouraging human interaction, which is crucial to our physical and mental wellbeing.

The future is not a binary choice between digital and analog, but about how to strike the right balance between the two. The lessons for investors and business leaders: those who hailed the end of analog and the victory of digital – think again!

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