We hear the word information technology and we think we know what it is, we think it is about computers and smartphones, but it is becoming much more than this, as computing converges with biotechnology and nanotechnology with the Internet of Things, cloud computing and smart systems, every type of technology is becoming an information technology. Some talk about disruptive technology, some about the information revolution, either way, there is a profound transformation taking place in our technology landscape. A true revolution that is shaking every industry; that is literally redefining how we understand technology and ourselves.
Technology that we once thought of as physical tools and machines is no longer so, as a wave of information that started with personal computing and the internet is breaking out into the real world of physical things. Today information is out of its box and it is redefining our technology landscape. Technology is no longer a one-off object that performs some physical operation, as we network our world placing sensors and actuators in all kinds of objects, technologies are becoming more like systems for executing on algorithms. Phones that just ten years ago were lumps of plastic and electronics with buttons for making calls have become smartphones that are designed to simply run code. Cars are becoming smart cars, whole cities are becoming smart cities with all of this technology increasingly connected up to the cloud where smart systems run analytics, crunching vast amounts of data, learning and feeding it back to the devices to optimize their performance.
This paper explores this new wave of information technology that is coming at us at light speed and disrupting every business and industry. We look at the emergence of a new architecture to our technology landscape based around cyber-physical systems and digital platforms. Finally, we discuss the implications of this new set of technologies to society, asking fundamental questions about the rapidly evolving relationship between computers and humans and how to develop this next generation of technologies in a socially sustainable fashion.