The Future of Digital Part 1: the future IS digital

General Assembly partnered with Mashable to co-present The Future of Digital, a day-long festival with over 20 speakers sharing ideas on technology, design, digital trends and the future of work. These are some insights that we gained from throughout the day...

The future of digital = the future IS digital.

What is digital? Digital is 0s and 1s. Digital is any system that uses a code of digits to store and transmit information. These digitals can be displayed at pixels to create text and images. When we talk about digital, we are talking about IT- Information Technology - tools that we use to communicate information. Computers and mobile phones. The Internet. 

Mike Biggs from Thoughtworks said it is taking over and supporting everything we do in life and I don't think anyone can disagree. Mike explained that digital is the fabric of the design process. It allows us to design everything- interfaces, products, experiences, business models, etc. We are using it to design everything around us and as a result of this process digital becomes not just the fabric of design but also the fabric of our lives.

Joel Turnball from General Assembly gave examples of how the lines between the digital world and the physical world are becoming blurry. Money is being replaced by digital currencies, traditional physical transactions like shopping are being moved online, even relationships. With new technology like 3D printing, digital is evolving from not just a mediator but a creator within the physical world as well.

Unlike people born into this digital world (the digital natives) some of us can still remember a time before the internet, before smart phones, when our lives were not lived through these digital tools. There was a time when information was more static, when it moved slowly and it's reach was limited. Tom Uglow from Google Labs explained that the future of digital is when information reaches a level of fluidity that it is taken for granted by everybody, like electricity!

Damian Damjanovski from Common Ventures pointed out that those of us living in the future of digital are going to require knowledge and training to keep up with the rapid pace of technology. Joel Turnball believes that understanding digital code is now important even if you are not going to write it. In a digitally dominated world, the better your 'software literacy' is, the grater control you will have.