Immortality projects and the new normal

​TEDx speaker Ashkan Fardost is passionate about how digitalization affects human behaviour. He is also brave. Facing over a hundred top notch digitalization researchers and industrialists at the Wingquist Laboratory annual seminar, he claimed that “you’ve all misunderstood digitalization”.
​Digital technologies are transforming business models and industries at an ever-faster pace. As a response, every industry is catching up with a “digitalization” strategy. The problem though, is that we’ve completely misunderstood the concept of digitalization. Ashkan Fardost is a scientist, TEDx speaker and nominated as Speaker of the Year with a passion for how digitalization affects human behavior. Ashkan Fardost was also the opening keynote speaker at this year’s Wingquist Laboratory annual seminar.

In what sense is digitalization misunderstood? Ashkan Fardost said that the basic misconception lies in the difference between digitization, which is making numbers of analogue things, vs digitalization, which is when we use human needs as a base for new technology, not just adding a sensor to an existing product.

- Human needs existed long before we knew anything about technology. When the basic needs started to become fulfilled, the human developed and eventually technology became an extension of our human capabilities. However, the human is the only creature that is aware of its mortality – which is why we seek immortality through different projects.
Some of the immortality projects Ashkan Fardost mentioned was book writing, being part of something bigger as a family, a religion or an organisation, or committing to science. But how do these projects relate to the digitalization era?

- The internet lets you to create your own immortality projects, instead of picking something from the shelf. Back in the 50’s, the world was filled with “normal” people. Nowadays, weird is the new normal. The behaviour has changed. If you have a peculiar interest, the internet has made it possible for you to find equals around the world. The internet has created a global digital tribal society. A tribe that gives and receives help, co-creates with each other – for each other. The internet has killed the need to be normal and therefore the need for customized products will increase rapidly.
Ashkan Fardost concluded his talk by recommending companies that want to embrace this accelerating future to focus on behaviour trends instead of technology trends.

Text: Nina Silow
Photo: Marcus Folino

Published: Fri 27 Apr 2018. Modified: Tue 01 May 2018