MIT just launched a new Initiative for the Digital Economy to systematically address the impact of digital technologies on business, the economy and society. The university-wide initiative is being organized by MIT’s Center for Digital Business (CDB), and is led by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andy McAfee, who are respectively the CDB’s director and principal research scientist.
Since the mid 1990s, we’ve been talking about the emergence of an Internet-based digital economy. It has often been said that powerful disruptive innovations like the Internet are overhyped in the short term but under-hyped in the long term. This is certainly the case with digital economy. The term was widely thrown around in the heady dot-com bubble days as people talked about a new economy with eyeballs instead of revenue, profit and cash as key business metrics.
But, over the past decade the Internet has transitioned from the connected world of PCs, browsers and web servers, to the hyperconnected world of mobile devices, cloud computing and broadband wireless networks. The physical and the the digital now blend into each other over porous boundaries, as people, institutions and things are all becoming interconnected. A 21st century digital economy is indeed now emerging in this hyperconnected, inclusive, and increasingly smart world.