Is the Digital Revolution a failure?
Would you consider it a success if while cooking lunch for your family you burned half of the food? Would your personal life be successful if while trying to end a fight between your children you make them more hostile to each other? Would it be a success for you if a discovery of yours endangered your neighbors and friends?
What good is innovation or growth if it does not translate into prosperity and well-being for the majority?
What has caused many to think that the digital revolution is a cause of more division than union?
When we talk about innovation, we look with provincial admiration at Silicon Valley, laboratory and engine of the digital revolution that has shaped our present for the past 30 years.
When we look for references of economic success, we also look at the great global financial centers, the beacons of the neoliberal revolution that has defined the space of the possible for more than 30 years.
This techno-financial marriage establishes the inevitable Western ideological framework. An invisible gas that permeates and occupies all spaces of reality, which dictates what we do, what we are and what we want.
From the borders of the empires we strive to replicate their success models.
In business schools, consultancies and innovation centers we absorb their perspectives, we put their processes into practice to try to reach the same conclusions and achieve the same achievements.
The work of many of us consists mainly in understanding these keys of operation and applying them to our context, evangelizing with passion on new ways of living, learning, working and especially thinking, accepting without criticism everything that reinforces the myth promising and triumphant of this late technocapitalism.
But the real is starkly in sight, manifesting itself in the obscene sensation of systemic failure that is felt in the West, in the hypothesis that the dream of liberating reason they have represented in a monopolistic manner Silicon Valley and the financial centers drag us hopelessly towards its dystopian reflex, towards a defeat.
Of course, the ambitious geeks of San Francisco, or the cosmopolitan urban centers are not, at least for now, extreme right-wing nationalist voters, but this should not impede reflection on how their models of technological and business innovation, despite their importance on the new economy has not contributed to the articulation of an integral and integrating idea of economic, social or cultural progress that reaches all citizens.
Neither the magic of the technology developed in the last decades nor the enormous financial power accumulated by funds and corporations have had the capacity – nor the objective – to reach, elevate and accompany the whole society in its development.
On the contrary, what has taken place is a deepening of economic inequality, of job insecurity, of alienation of large demographic sectors, of the perverse use of communication, of anxiety, of fear and of resentment, reaching its conclusive response in the form of victory of a reactionary and loaded policies, which seduce with the promise of protection and revenge against this elitist and imposted complexity of the contemporary ideal.
Can those who in only a few years have contributed to create a political and social climate as dysfunctional and dangerous as the current one be considered models of success?
If not, why do we continue to have them as a reference? And, above all, what good is innovation or growth if it does not translate into prosperity and well-being for the majority?
Implicit in the books and articles we read, in the opinions of the experts that we follow through the networks, in the processes and methodologies that we apply, in the invisible principles that dictate our decisions, in the values that we consider universal are the ideas that we have taught to believe as the best.
A proof of this strange dynamic between techno-capitalist elites and reality is that in a political and social context as worrying as the one that is being deployed in the West by mostly out of control, unchecked forces, the only creative solution proposed by great innovation icons such as Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos is to flee to space.
Perhaps, despite their genius, or because of it, they have given up on the rest of us.
To curb this descent into dystopia, to deny the irremediability of defeat, we need to define a new territory of the possible that will help us imagine new futures, futures from which it is not necessary to flee.
In order to do so first we will have to strive to unveil the invisible myths that build this unique, optional and alien narrative that defines the framework of the present.
Although the correlation between the phenomena is not entirely apparent, perhaps we must ask to what extent the appearance of a Trump or the aggressive emergence of Brexit are answers to what are considered the traditional models of the technological and financial cases of success.