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Understandung the Digital Revolution

August 28, 2020

Alfred Rolington, co-founder and CEO of the Cyber Security Intelligence website, has written a blog "Creating Post-Modern Intelligence" which provides a survey of the "Digital" or "Cyber" Revolution. (Since writers vary in describing the numerical sequence in the series of "industrial revolutions", I will use "Digital Revolution" to describe it.)

This revolution is characterized by new technologies such as 3D printing, data driven vehicles, robotics, bio-technology and a blurring of physical, digital and biological elements. It hs also created new criminal activity.

Statistics are mind boggling. Global internet users rose from 394 million in 2000 to 4.4 billion today - 57% of the world's population. Every day we send about 300 billion emails; there are over one billion Google searches; and two billion video views on You Tube. The average user spends 2 1/2 hours online every day.

There is a difference between the Internet - the global system of about 52 billion interconnected computer networks - and the "Web" of service engines. Like the tip of an iceberg, the "World Wide Web" is the visible, easily searchable portion. There is a much larger "Deep Web" consisting of secret and private networks. Part of this is the "Dark Web" used for espionage (it was actually created by the U. S. government), criminal activity and terrorism but also by journalists and investigators.

Cyber warfare is an increasing concern, especially in the Middle East. Cyber attacks can support traditional warfare Cyber weapons can be used by state or non-state actors, for defense or offense. Small, highly skilled groups can be dangerous.

In the present global environment, pattern recognition has become as important as linear analysis. Organizations need news and analysis to refresh their thinking. The "mosaic" method of investigation through various points of view brings new perspectives.

Historically speaking, international regulation of the oceans and later air travel can be a model for inter-governmental cyber agreements and fighting cyber crime.(the 21st century equivalent of piracy). We must also confront government interference in individual privacy.

Like all revolutions, this one is disruptive. Unless we can understand and manage what is going on, we will be swept away.