The Transformation of the World through Communications, Energy, and Logistics
Many of CORE Languages’ corporate clients are involved in the Internet of Things ( IoT ), part of the third industrial revolution: from self-driving cars to the sensors and software that move them, companies innovating and investing in IoT are the early adapters of this next stage of economic development. So, what is the Internet of Things? Essentially, it describes the interconnectedness of devices through computing via the Internet as one platform.
What does the IoT look like and who are the players? Since it is first and foremost based on web connectivity and the Internet, a lot of traditional tech companies are involved. These IoT Companies, like Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Siemens, Huawei, Hitachi, SAP, GE Digital, Cisco, Dell, Bosch, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Intel, Qualcomm, Salesforce, Oracle, Samsung and AT&T (among others; see this article) are creating products that drive the transformation of the current global economy based on the old industrial revolution of the 20th century and the more recent digital revolution, also called the third industrial revolution (see Jeremy Rifkin’s book and video on the subject), the roots of which are found in the post-WWII era with the advent of semiconductors.
According to Rifkin, there have been 7 major economic paradigm shifts, which include the two industrial revolutions. What are the markers of an economic revolution? There needs to be new communication technologies, new sources of energy, and new modes of mobility or transportation. These three things, to quote Rifkin from his video (13:11-13:57), “…manage, power, and move economic life.” How is the IoT Revolution different from previous paradigm shifts, what are the new technologies, energy sources, and modes of transportation, and what role do language services companies (LSCs) have in such a future?
There are three “Internets” converging in the digital revolution: new communication technology is, of course, digital (email, instant messaging, texting), the development of renewable green energy is the newest energy source, and mobility (interconnected, GPS-driven, driverless supply chain) is becoming more remotely controlled than ever before. The IoT is essentially a distributed network that renders the traditional economic verticals in industry obsolete.
In terms of how languages and cultures, interpreting and translation factor into this new paradigm shift, there has been a large shift to online teaching using digital tools previously unavailable to earlier generations. You can learn directly from a native-speaking instructor on the other side of the world in real-time, and you can video chat/conference with many people at once, which allows for virtual classroom experiences. Quite a few courses at major colleges and universities are now recorded and/or live-streamed to viewers around the world.
There are some aspects of language services, however, which are not always easily handled by digital technology. As I have made clear in another post, translation – but also interpreting – require human involvement to deliver quality services. As much as we want to believe that computers can replace interpreters and translators and be accurate in their finished product, there is still much left to be desired. The need for intercultural competence in a global marketplace means that LSCs are well-positioned to deliver intercultural training for employees of their corporate clients. In terms of language instruction, LSCs offer a reliable, vetted and coordinated network of instructors who provide consistent content to client companies in an increasingly interconnected world economy.
This means that language services companies are an integral component to the economic transformation we are living through, and, even though not directly part of the technological transformation of global infrastructure, companies like CORE Languages play an important supporting role in what’s to come.