The digital revolution, according to Gilles Babinet Premium

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The digital revolution is underway, and “there’s no turning back the tide”! According to Gilles Babinet, the stakes are high: upheavals created by digital technology are likely to topple some of our civilization’s most fundamental principles. As the old models begin to crumble, Business Digest encourages you to explore the different futures made possible by the digital age.

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“The digital revolution could be one of the three major turning points in the history of mankind, alongside the invention of writing by the Sumerians […] and the invention of printing by Gutenberg, which made the Enlightenment possible.” According to Gilles Babinet, mankind is currently heading towards a major paradigm shift: a new era in which knowledge and information (widely available at marginal cost) will give rise to unprecedented gains in productivity, increased opportunities, and become powerful factors in the emancipation of peoples and transformation of societies.

1. Knowledge
The first two major breakthrough innovations, writing and printing, increased the speed at which ideas and knowledge spread. Today, with personal computers, the advent of big data and the use of smartphones on a massive scale, the phenomenon is being repeated and with incredible potential.

2. Education
Faced with this aging model, innovative initiatives are popping up everywhere that leverage digital technology to provide high-quality education to as many students as possible, and often at a fraction of the normal cost. Some of the best success stories are the result of private initiatives, including the Khan Academy, which gives math lessons by video.

3. Health
Babinet believes that the increasing amount of data available per patient through the convergence of IT systems, the introduction of personalized medical records and the development of connected objects (electronic scales, bracelets, etc.) could lead to a reduction in diagnostic mistakes (which cost tens of billions of euros in France alone). Likewise, low-cost DNA analysis would enhance research and improve the mass targeting of drugs and individualized care.

4. Industry
The ongoing developments of the last four or five years suggest that advances in information technology will open the door to communication, and even emulation, between men and machines as well as between products and consumers. This should ultimately help to decentralize the means of production towards a cellular-type economy.


Based on L’ère numérique, un nouvel âge pour l’humanité, cinq mutations qui vont bouleverser nos vies by Gilles Babinet (Le Passeur, February 2014).

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